Somalia joined the world in celebrating 30 years since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted and ratified by 195 countries including Somalia with public events with children and policy makers.
At an event with key stakeholders held in Mogadishu, Ahmed Omar Ibrahim, Save the Children’s Area Representative for Southern States said the UNCRC has played a critical role in catalyzing progress for children in Somalia and around the world. However more needs to done to transform the lives of Somali children whose rights are still not fulfilled.
“When the Government of Somalia ratified the UNCRC in 2015, it committed to ensuring that every child is protected, educated and survives to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. For many years we have been working to support the government and communities to bring lasting change for children. Thanks to the guiding principles of the treaty, we have laws, policies and have prioritized children’s rights. Today somalia is a better place for children than it was years ago. More, however, still needs to be done to ensure that children in Somalia are protected and have their full rights as enshrined in the CRC.” Said Ahmed.
The CRC is the most ratified human rights treaty in history and the most comprehensive set of rights for children. When world leaders came together, in a rare moment of international unity, to adopt the CRC, they committed themselves to fulfilling their obligations by ensuring that every child and adolescent is able to exercise his or her full rights.
However, looking back on 30 years of progress also gives an opportunity to reflect on the unmet needs for children in Somalia. Millions of children in the world, continue to suffer violations of their rights when they are denied adequate healthcare, nutrition, education and protection from violence.
Nine out of 10 Somali girls have undergone FGM. This harmful practice continues to put at risk the lives of millions Somalia women and girls. At least 3 million school-aged children in Somalia are out school. This is does not only deny their right to education but also exposes them to further risks including to be recruited by armed groups, child labour, child marriage and other forms of exploitation.
Speaking at the event Sahra, representing other children said “we would like to request everyone in this room today to make a commitment to ensure that all children who are currently out of school have an opportunity to learn. We request you to promise us that you will do everything in your power to ensure that no Somali child goes hungry or suffer as a result of the conflict.”
“Somali Children should have the same opportunities as their peers in the world. They should not suffer the consequences of problems they are not part of. They don’t deserve it and it’s against their rights” she continued.
Over the last 100 years, Save the Children has done whatever it takes to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children and to achieve immediate and lasting change in children’s lives. In Somalia, Save the Children has worked for over 60 years, since 1951, and is a national and international leader in humanitarian and development programming in health, nutrition, education, child protection and child rights governance. In 2018 alone, we reached 2.5 million people across Somalia.