While observing the ‘Universal Children Day 2016’, the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission stressed the importance of protecting the human rights of children in all settings, especially those in vulnerable environments and settings such as situations of armed conflict, foreign occupation, emergencies and disasters.
The distressing images of a drowned Syrian refugee toddler lying on the shore, which shook the world last year, as well as the continuous plight of children in refugee camps in Gaza, Syria, Iraq and other flash points around the world provide a stark reminder of the devastating effects that armed conflicts, disasters and fragility of states have on children’s lives leading to violation of their rights to survival, development, protection and participation. The Commission, accordingly, urged the international community to take all steps necessary to promote and protect the rights of children everywhere. It particularly urged relevant authorities and stakeholders to ensure improved access to education and health care for the increasing populations of refugee and migrant children in different parts of the world.
To this end the Commission also recalled that the advent of Islam laid the architecture of a human rights based society where interests of the vulnerable and disadvantaged sections are particularly secured through codification of rights and responsibilities. Accordingly, it is the shared responsibility of parents and family members, society and governments to ensure that children rights are respected, protected and fulfilled, especially in difficult and challenging circumstances.
Since its inception, the Commission has kept the promotion and protection of the rights of children as one of the priority areas of its work and objectives. IPHRC considers ensuring rights of children as not a concession but an obligation and an investment in humanity's future. It has accordingly urged Member States to grant highest priority to the enforcement of children’s rights in all settings and situations.
To reinforce the above message and draw attention of all stakeholders to the plight of children in particular during situations of armed conflict, foreign occupation, emergencies and disasters, the Commission will hold a thematic debate during its upcoming 10th Regular Session on 29th November 2016. This thematic debate, which will bring together experts from different relevant international and regional organizations as well as representatives of OIC Member and Observer States would aim to analyze the general context of the on-going international, regional and OIC’s initiatives related to protection of child rights; and identify gaps within the existing initiatives and mechanisms with a view to suggesting a way forward.