(KPL) The Government of Lao PDR, represented by the Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone, UNICEF Representative, Mr Octavian Bivol, representatives of development partners, about 1,500 children and families gathered on Nov 17, 2018 at Patuxay to pledge their support to children’s rights and show their commitment towards building a world where every child is learning, safe from harm and able to fulfil their potential.
The Fun Run from Patuxay to the Presidential Palace led by children and organised by the National Commission for the Advancement of Women and Mothers and Children (NCAWMC) and UNICEF is one of the main events organised in Laos this year to mark World Children’s Day on 20 November. Under the slogan ‘Go Blue for Every Child. Play Your Part’ participants raised their voices and encouraged everyone to take action for children across the country to have a brighter future.
“On the occasion of World Children’s Day, celebrated on 20 November, I would like to request all Government agencies, the Lao Front for National Development, private sector, and all Lao people in general to put children first and prioritize children’s related issues to ensure every child survives, thrives, develops to the full potential and participates in the society. Children are the main resource of this country and we have to protect them,” said Mme Bundith Prathumvanh Vice President of NCAWMC.
20 November is the day when the most widely ratified human right treaty in history, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, was adopted. It is a date to celebrate the progress made for children and address the work that still needs to be done. It is a day of action, to advocate and raise awareness on the most pressing issues facing children – a day to ‘Play Your Part’ for children.
“Today, we are asking everyone to go blue in support of children’s rights and to amplify their voices. If we look at the situation of children in Laos, there has been important progress over the last years, including more children surviving, less children being malnourished and more children going to school. However, on this very important day, we should focus on those children who still require our commitment and support. We all have to play our part,” pointed out Octavian Bivol, UNICEF Representative.
During the event children talked about issues that are important to them. “I think schools should be a safe place for children. There should be no violence in school, and all students should respect each other. School facilities should be clean, and teachers should give attention to all students,” explained Dodo, 18 years old, referring to some of the issues that need to be addressed to improved children’s lives.
“Every child has her or his own dreams. Parents should know what their children want to do, spend more time with their children and encourage them to achieve their dreams. They need to tell their kids: you can do it!” stated June, 14 years old.
Children invited participants to sign a petition pledging their support to child rights in the lead up to the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to be marked on November 2019. The petition can also be signed online at https://www.unicef.org/world-childrens-day#petition
Activities to mark World Children’s Day will continue on 20 November when children will take over media outlets, including the Lao National Radio and the Lao National Television, and social media platforms to speak out about the issues they face in the country and call on leaders to take action.