World Children’s Day: how do middle eastern children celebrates it?
International days are a lot there is strange international day “for food, cartoon characters, no day, donkey” and many other international days. Perhaps the most important thing about international days is that they highlight their theme.
In 1954, World Children’s Day was declared and celebrated on November 20, to promote international interdependence and awareness among children to improve their well-being. On this date, five years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is considered one of the most widely signed human rights agreements. This international day is important in shedding light on the suffering of children in all parts of the world from all sides.
How do children receive World Children’s Day in 2022? How is the Convention on the Rights of the Child applied in the Arab world?
Food crisis threatens children’s lives: World Children’s Day
A UNICEF report stated that the escalating food crisis pushed 160,000 children to suffer from severe waste. the severe crisis is occurring at a greater rate in 15 countries, including countries of the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.
What makes the situation worse is the food crisis that occurs because of the war between Ukraine and Russia. these two countries are considered among the most important exporters of wheat and energy materials. In addition to the drought that strikes many countries due to climate change.
All of this and more has consequences for children in the Middle East region, especially conflict areas, where children suffer in these regions at greater rates than in any other region in the world. Child nutrition in the Middle East and North Africa region has been deteriorating since 2000 until today, according to the UNICEF report issued in 2019.
It is worth noting that poverty rates have increased in the last two years due to many geographical and political factors, which raise the rates of hungry children more and more.
What are children exposed to during conflicts?
There are many aspects of violations against children during conflicts. UNICEF mentioned in a report about violations against children during conflicts by killing and maiming them as a result of targeting children directly through torture or exchanges of fire, or landmines, cluster munitions, explosives devices, and other indiscriminate devices. Or even through military operations such as house demolitions, search and arrest campaigns, or suicide bombing attacks.
Explosives and their remnants are among the most common tools that kill and maim children. In 2020, no less than 47% of child casualties were caused by them, according to UNICEF estimates.
In addition to the recruitment and exploitation of children by the armed forces. This type of abuse has increased at alarming rates, especially in recent years, as children work with armed groups as fighters, cooks, and spies…or this exploitation may be sexual exploitation.
Not to mention sexual violence through prostitution, trafficking, forced marriage or pregnancy, sexual exploitation, and others. This type of violence is sometimes used to deliberately humiliate residents or force them to leave their homes. Girls are also more affected by sexual violence, as they constituted 97% of the victims between 2016/2020.
One of the most common violations during armed conflicts is the kidnapping of children to take revenge or to create terror among the parents. The abducted children are subjected to grave violations such as killing, mutilation, sexual violence, or forced recruitment, and these children may be held hostage.
The conflicting parties also resort to preventing humanitarian aid from reaching food and medicine. This threatens the lives of children with weak immunity.
Middle Eastern children working in the street: World Children’s Day
The rate of working children in the world has risen to 160 million children, according to UNICEF, with nearly nine million in the past four years. More than half of these working children are in the age group between five and eleven years.
Also, a large number of them work in dangerous jobs that could harm their health, safety, or morals.
Successive violations affect children in the labor market. Working children do not work in well-equipped companies, not even in healthy and comfortable working conditions. They often resort to the streets or to shops, where they are exposed during their work to conditions that those of their age cannot bear.
Employers take advantage of this category of children to work for them because they accept less.
Children work in very harsh conditions without securing access to minimal protection. Many children are exposed to sexual harassment from employers and continue to work for them for fear of losing their livelihood.
How do wars affect their psyche?
The recent aggression on Gaza, which lasted for three days, as well as other successive wars on the Strip, constituted a major change for many families, with a total of 44 martyrs, including 15 children and 4 women, and 360 wounded.
These changes in children due to the loss of a sibling, relative, friend, or even parent have psychological consequences that negatively affect their lives. In addition to many children who have permanent disabilities or disfigurement.
Dr. Wafaa Abu Musa, a psychological counselor, told Al-Jazeera.net that she hears the phrase “we are used to dying in Gaza,” which reflects the painful reality of the suffering of children in Gaza and all war zones.