JERUSALEM, 10 December 2009 – UNICEF hosted several days of celebratory activities last week to focus public attention on the importance of children’s rights. The occasion was the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was commemorated throughout the West Bank and Gaza.
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Photo exhibits by child photographers at the A.M. Qattan Foundation in Ramallah and Gaza City gave an insight into the barriers many Palestinian children experience as they strive to realize their rights. Along with photos featuring Palestinian culture and heritage, many of the 35 young photographers chose as their subjects isolation, conflict and child labour.
“In many parts of the world, there is progress to celebrate. But as the pictures illustrate, the Convention is far from a living reality for children in Gaza and the West Bank,” said UNICEF Special Representative for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Jean Gough.
'Right to Play'
In the West Bank, UNICEF and the non-governmental organization ‘Right to Play’ supported marathons, sports competitions, field trips and theatrical performances reaching hundreds of children.
In Gaza, UNICEF supported sports and recreational activities for more than 1,000 children, including a marathon from Barcelona Park to Al-Yarmuk Stadium in which children with special needs could participate.
Other activities organized across the territory included folkloric dances, arts, drama, music and educational sessions to raise awareness about the CRC. The activities were carried out in partnership with Ministry of Youth and Sports, the National Committee of Summer Camps, the Al Nayzak for Extra-curricular Education, the Maan Development Centre; the Tamer Institute for Community Education and the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation.
'A better understanding'
In cooperation with the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, UNICEF supported a concert in Ramallah by the conservatory’s Students’ Orchestra, the Maqamat Ensemble and UNICEF Canada Ambassador and renowned composer Steve Barakatt.
Prime Minister Salam Fayyad attended the concert along with several hundred guests, including many children. The young musicians performed Arabic 'oriental' songs, along with tango music and concertos for oboe and organ. At the end of the performance, Mr. Barakatt joined the Students’ Orchestra in playing the UNICEF anthem, ‘Lullaby’, which he composed.
“Through this lullaby, my goal is to reach the world and develop a better understanding of one another,” said Mr. Barakatt. “I was really touched to see an amazing group of young Palestinian musicians. My performance with them was the highlight of my campaign all over the world.”