UNITED NATIONS - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF),
along with a
coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs),
''an unprecedented global campaign'' to improve the lives of
Called 'Say Yes for Children', the campaign is expected to reach
corners of the globe in an attempt to rally people behind 10
principles that seek to protect children.
The 10 principles are: Leave No Child Out; Put Children First;
Care for Every
Child; Fight HIV/AIDS; Stop Harming and Exploiting Children;
Children; Educate Every Child; Protect Children from War; Protect
Children; and Fight Poverty: Invest in Children.
Countries that have held or are planning launches range from
Angola and Benin
in Africa to Brazil and Chile in Latin America and Bangladesh and
The pledge begins with a simple plea: ''Too many of the world's
the effects of war, poverty, sickness, discrimination or abuse.
This is your
opportunity to send a message to the world's leaders that this is
This is your opportunity to say Yes to Children.''
The leaders of the campaign include former South African President
Mandela, founder and head of Microsoft, Bill Gates, British
political activist Vanessa Redgrave and UN Secretary-General Kofi
NGOs participating in the campaign include Save the Children,
Netaid.Org Foundation, PLAN International and the Bangladesh Rural
Launched simultaneously at UN headquarters in New York and at a
in London Thursday, the campaign is also seeking to register world
issues crucial to children.
The pledges, which can be made online
offline will eventually be presented to world leaders who will be
in New York
Sep. 19-21 for the UN Special Session on Children.
''The Special Session will indeed be a special moment in history -
a time for
world leaders to commit themselves to specific actions to help the
the world,'' says Annan.
''Say Yes for Children is an opportunity for all of us to show
them the way,
and to give visibility and a voice to the children who need it
The 10 principles build on the 1989 landmark UN Convention on the
Child, the most ratified international human treaty ever, and on
Summit for Children, where 71 world leaders committed themselves
goals for children and young people.
Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, chairperson of the
Committee for the Special Session, says the purpose of the Session
recommit world leaders to the goals and timetable adopted in 1990.
that during the last 10 years, substantial progress has been made
the objectives of the World Summit for Children. But much still
remains to be
done, she adds.
UNICEF says the reality of life is that more than 10 million
age of five die each year, mostly from preventable disease and
Additionally, one-third of the world's children fail to complete
five years of
basic schooling while over 120 million of primary school age,
not enrolled in school.
At the same time, there are over 300,000 children who have been
participants in armed conflicts worldwide while over 60 million
Meanwhile, the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation
(ILO) has also
launched a global movement for the ratification of the ILO
Convention on the
Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour. As of December
last year, only
about 37 of the 189 UN member states had ratified it.
The Convention, which applied to all persons under the age of 18,
governments to ban practices such as slave labour and the bondage
Other actions to be banned include the exploitation of children
prostitution or pornography, their use in armed conflicts, in the
drug trafficking and in all forms of hazardous work.
The convention also calls for enacting, implementing and enforcing
protect children of being exploited, as well as monitoring and
The ILO says the aim of the convention is to provide a decent
million children who, at present, were obliged to work - 60
million of them in
the worst forms of child labour.
Copyright 2001 IPS