Community Development World

Zimbabwe commemorates World Children’s Day

VP Chiwenga

Zimbabwe yesterday held a commemorative event for World Children’s Day at the National Gallery in Harare where various stakeholders converged.

Among the dignitaries were the Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Hon. Rtd General Dr. C.G.N Chiwenga; Minister of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare, Hon. Dr. Paul Mavhima; Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Hon Evelyn Ndlovu; Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts, and Recreation, Hon. Dr. Kirsty Coventry; UN Resident Coordinator, HE Edward Kallon; EU Ambassador, HE Jobst von Kirchmann;  and UNICEF Representative, Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale.

On 20 November the world commemorates World Children’s Day, to mark the Anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It is a day to celebrate the progress made for children’s rights, to hold leaders to account for promises made, and to address the work that still needs to be done. It is a day when children express themselves and advocate and raise awareness on the most pressing issues they are facing, and for duty bearers to listen to them and take their opinions seriously.

This year’s theme calls for an inclusive society where the rights of all children are respected, including children with disabilities. Over the past few weeks, several consultations were held across the country with children, including children with disabilities where they expressed, through creative expression, the need to ensure equal access to social services for all its citizens, including children with disabilities, and if needed through specialized services. These consultations resulted in the design of a Mural that represents the hopes and aspirations of Zimbabwe’s children.

VP Chiwenga highlighted the government’s commitment to ensuring a conducive environment where children’s hopes and aspirations thrive,

“We need to act for the rights of children today, not tomorrow, because children are our future. It does not matter whether a child is disabled or not, they are entitled to the same rights; no child should be discriminated against. We should never leave anyone behind,” VP Chowenga said.

In his remarks, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Kallon said the theme this year acknowledges that every child has a fundamental right and shines a light on the principle of non-discrimination of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and to renew the call to work together for the inclusion of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe. He said World Children’s Day offers stakeholders an inspirational entry point to advocate, promote and celebrate children’s rights, translating into dialogues and actions that will build a better world for Children.

The Convention captures all the rights of children to provisions, protection, and participation, and is underpinned by cross-cutting principles of the best interest of the child, non-discrimination, rights to survival and development, and the right to expression.

Mr. Kallon recognized and commended the leadership of the Government of Zimbabwe for creating an inclusive society in Zimbabwe where all children including those with disabilities can develop their full potential.

UN Resident Coordinator, HE Edward Kallon

In June 2021, the Government of Zimbabwe launched the National Disability Policy and instituted a committee to coordinate the implementation of the Policy. Zimbabwe is in the process of adopting the Person with Disabilities Bill.

“The UN will continue to work with the Government of Zimbabwe to strengthen disability mainstreaming as well as specialized disability-specific programmes to advance the rights of all children with disabilities, especially in provinces with high prevalence. For example, my office and the UN Country Team are supporting national initiatives for people with disabilities and coordinating UN Agencies to accelerate the implementation of the UNCRPD.

“Child rights are universal, inalienable, and indivisible in a world that is in constant flux. Economic, social, and political dynamics, driven by new technologies, actors, and challenges, pose important tests for the current and future well-being of children. From the outset, allow me to commend the Government of Zimbabwe for the progress made to promote the rights of children and address the specific needs of children with disabilities,” Mr. Kallon said.

The sentiments were echoed by Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale, the UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe.

‘This year for #WorldChildrensDay we call for inclusion where the rights of ALL children are respected. Children with disabilities have the same rights as all other children,” Dr. Oyewale said.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende