SANAA, Nov. 20 (YPA) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday said despite the historic gains made for children since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 30 years ago by the UN General Assembly, Yemen remains among the worst countries for children in the world.
The continuation of the bloody conflict and the resulting economic crisis has put basic social services systems throughout Yemen on the brink of collapse, which has far-reaching consequences for children, UNICEF said in a statement.
“Today, there are more than 12 million children – almost every child – in Yemen who need urgent humanitarian assistance,” the statement added.
Yemen ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, which made it one of the first countries in the world committed to improving the rights of children in the country and reporting on progress.
“The 30th anniversary of the Convention should be a clear reminder to all of us to urgently recommit to our responsibilities to help Yemen’s children survive and grow in a peaceful and secure environment,” said UNICEF Representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti.
Nyanti stated that many children were killed as a result of the war by blatant attacks, while playing outdoors with their friends, while going to or back from school, or while at home peacefully with their families.
On 20 November, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Yemen, UNICEF is organizing sports activities for boys and girls in all Yemeni provinces to highlight the right to play as an important aspect of the child’s physical and mental development, she explained.
“Every day we strive to fulfill our promise to meet the needs and help achieve the rights of Yemen’s children, but the purest form of childhood – playing – is often ignored.”
She affirmed that the sporting activities organized by UNICEF and its partners mean that children can gather, without fear of attack, to play together across the country.
“We have also asked all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and provide a day of calm on November 20 so that children can play without fear of attack, although this does not end their daily suffering, but it shows the possibility of achieving a peaceful future in Yemen,” Nyanti said.
The UNICEF representative saw this symbolic gesture as an opportunity to remind the world of Yemen’s children, who still bear the brunt of the conflict.
She explained that UNICEF and its partners continue to provide life-saving services to children in the areas of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, as well as child protection services.