On NOV. 20, 1959, the United Nations adopted the declaration of children’s rights for the first time. The aim for that declaration was to initiate actions to benefit and promote the welfare of children around the world.
Since then, the UN has been encouraging its member countries to adopt this date as a universal children’s day, to encourage parents in celebrating their children’s talents, skills and achievements and to prompt children rights in societies.
Sadly, the latest figures announced by the Saudi National Human Rights Society indicate the rise of domestic violence against children in Saudi Arabia. They predict that 45 percent of children are facing some kind of abuse in their environment.
People were very disturbed two weeks ago over the news of the death of a 5-year-old girl, who was painfully abused by her father. The lack of clear and strict laws incriminating such abuse makes it hard to keep children safe from harm.
Last week the Ministry of Culture and Information celebrated the Universal Children’s Day at King Fahad Cultural Center. The aim of the celebration was to raise community awareness of children’s rights, and the duties of families toward them. Unfortunately there are serious doubts and concerns regarding the degree of success of these awareness campaigns.
Although there are good intentions regarding children welfare in Saudi Arabia, nevertheless we need to establish a clear understanding of what is needed in terms of programs designed for our children’s best interests, as well as children’s protection services, which are slowly emerging in Saudi Arabia.
As parents, it is our responsibility to commit ourselves to love, cherishe, and nurture our children in every possible way we can. We should set a priority in our daily lives to their physical, mental, and emotional health; however those who do not, need to be closely monitored by the government, and not left to abuse their kids without any consequences.
What parents think are right or wrong for their children differ from one culture to another, and in fact differ from one family to another, which makes it hard for government agencies to find solutions that would satisfy everyone.
For instance, when the deputy Minister of Education, Hamad Al-Shaikh, announced last week that musical activities are not prohibited in schools and should be encouraged in theatrical plays to enhance students’ theatrical talents, creativity and culture; his announcement was received with resentment by conservative parents who oppose music lessons in schools.
The Ministry of Education found itself compelled to issue an explanatory statement saying it was all a misunderstanding, denying that it was enforcing music classes in school curriculums, and announcing that musical activities will not be practiced on school grounds.
A Tweet: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
— Pablo Picasso