Dear children, I congratulate you all on the International Day for Protection of Children! I wish you health, happiness and great achievements in life.
The first of June is observed in many countries around the world to honor children. This Day means not only the first day of the summer and the first day of the long school holidays, but something more meaningful for children’s future.
Protection of children’s rights is an obligation in many international documents and resolutions which Turkmenistan has joined, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention addresses the basic human rights of children, such as the right to survival, the right to develop to the fullest, the right to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation, and the right to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.
Turkmenistan adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994. Since then UNICEF has been working closely with the Government of Turkmenistan to bring about positive changes in the lives of children in the areas of health, education, social and child protection and climate change.
One of these areas is Early Childhood Development. We have enjoyed a strong partnership in this area, which is key for ensuring children have the best possible start in life and can develop to their full potential. UNICEF is proud to have supported the development of the two most recent policy documents which will guide all partners’ engagement on early childhood development: the National Strategy on Early Childhood Development for 2020-2025, which His Excellency the President endorsed at the end of 2019, and the Programme for improving the activities of preschool institutions in the field of early development and pre-primary preparation of children in Turkmenistan for 2020-2025, which was adopted just last week. I would like to commend Turkmenistan for its continued efforts to ensure a solid policy base to achieve early childhood development and learning outcomes. And I would like to reiterate UNICEF’s readiness to continue supporting these efforts.
Turkmenistan is well positioned to advance the child rights agenda. Since 2017, Turkmenistan is part of UNICEF’s Executive Board. In 2018, the Government of Turkmenistan adopted the National Plan of Action for Realization of Children’s Rights. And this year, which is a significant one already given the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Permanent Neutrality, Turkmenistan will be submitting its next periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
We are proud to partner on these important initiatives and I am looking forward to expanding our collaboration for the benefit of all children.
A beautiful Turkmen proverb says “Bal süýji, baldan bala süýji”! (“Honey is sweet, but a child is sweeter than honey”). Children are our future. Let’s keep working together to make sure that all children can enjoy their rights, be healthy, explore opportunities, learn something new every day and stay connected with their friends and families! Let’s unite to ensure that our children enjoy their childhood!
Once again on behalf of UNICEF I wholeheartedly congratulate all children and parents of Turkmenistan on the International Child Protection Day!
Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan
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