UNICEF Lights Black Stars Gate Blue For Children’s Rights
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ghana, and its partners on Tuesday evening lit the monumental Black Star Gate blue in support of the rights of children.
The colourful event, held on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) coincided with similar ceremonies across the world to raise awareness on children’s rights.
UNICEF’s West and Central Africa Regional Director, Marie Pierre Poirier, who joined other dignitaries and Ministers of State for the ceremony recounted the historic role Ghana played by being the first country to ratify the Convention 30 years ago.
“We are reminded that every girl and boy is an important stakeholder of our planet, that their rights must be fulfilled, respected and protected, and that we as adults should not rest until each and every child everywhere, at all times, enjoys a safe and happy childhood,” she said.
Ms Poirier commended Ghana for the significant progress made in upholding the rights of the child through initiatives like boosting its immunization coverage to more than 90 per cent and achieved universal primary enrolment with gender parity.
She said the country’s under-five mortality rate had also reduced by 60 per cent, with the overall life expectancy increasing by over six years on the average.
“Poverty had been halved, while the country had also developed a robust social protection programme,” she said.
Ms Poirier however noted that “progress has not as yet reached every child.”
She said 28 per cent of children lived in poverty and there was a decline in the rate of exclusive breastfeeding for all babies from zero to six months and many children still faced inequalities, particularly with regard to where they lived, whether they were girls or boys, and disabilities.
Ms Poirier assured that UNICEF would continue to partner governments and other key stakeholders, including children, to ensure the rights of every child is realized.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Morrison, said Ghanaians were proud to associate 30 years of CRC with such an iconic monument because the Black Star Gate represented the courage, blood and toil of the forefathers of a free country.
Mrs Morrison said the lighting of the monument also provided an opportunity for everyone to renew his or her “commitment towards the protection of all children and to ensure that all rights due them are fully implemented.”
A 13-year-old pupil of the St Barnabas Anglican Basic School, Prince Addey Clark, called for more effort and commitment from stakeholders to protect children to enable them to grow up and realize their full potential.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri