Jeddah 20th November 2018: The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) joins the international community to commemorate the ‘Universal Children’s Day 2018’ which also marks the anniversary of the adoption of both the Declaration and the Convention on Rights of the Child by the UN General Assembly. It is also an opportunity to reflect upon the ground covered by the international human rights community to enforce child rights in order to develop their full potential, free from hunger and want, neglect, exploitation and abuse. It is a harsh reality that despite, existence of several normative frameworks, the progress on ground remains patchy for a large portion of children especially those living under occupation, in conflict zones, of migrants and asylum seekers and those threatened by abject poverty, socio economic deprivation, pandemics, climate change and natural disasters in different parts of the world.
OIC-IPHRC considers that the root causes of violations of child rights are multifaceted and preventing and eliminating these requires integrated rights based approach. It is of paramount importance that all children, without any discrimination, should have access to adequate health care, nutrition, education and protection from exploitation and harm during all times. Achieving all the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and other international child rights instruments, especially those related to ending poverty and child labor; addressing gender inequality and harmful practices and promoting health and education, access to justice and accountable and inclusive institutions are vital to translate the lofty aims of promoting and protecting the rights of child into reality. It is with this approach in mind that the IPHRC has embarked upon the project to review the OIC Covenant on the Rights of Child in Islam with a view to bringing it in conformity with the international human rights instruments; making it more representative, broad based and above all implementable to address the root causes, promote a culture of respect for child rights and to ensure that no child is left behind.
Given the scale and enormity of the challenge and urgency to redeem the future of succeeding generations, it is imperative for the international community to coordinate efforts to: (a) introduce legislative reforms and harmonize policies with emphasis on implementation of the rights recognized in the relevant international covenants and human rights instruments; (b) develop a broad-based comprehensive agenda of accountability for children’s rights, where rule of law, social inclusion and gender sensitive human development are promoted; and (c) empower children with easily understandable, age-sensitive and culturally appropriate information about their rights and relevant procedures to enable them to exercise their rights.