International Children’s Day, established by the United Nations, has been marked since 1989 throughout the world, with the aim of better understanding, acceptance and well-being of all children. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child thirty years ago. On this occasion, a series of panels and round tables were organized in Sarajevo, where children’s rights were discussed.
Today, children from all parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina had the opportunity to tell officials from all levels of legislative and executive power in Bosnia and Herzegovina what problems they are facing and what their expectations are from those who make laws.
“We will ask for a ban on physical punishment of children in all settings, but also remind that children with developmental difficulties still do not have equal access. We will say how important it is to have an education and protection system in which every child is heard, respected and responded to. It is important for children that schools are not only a place to get grades, but also a place where they will receive all the support. We must feel safe in schools, we must be safe at home, we must be safe on the Internet, we must be safe and protected in every situation,” says Sofija Kostić, a student from Banja Luka.
Children make up 20% of the population in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they say that their rights are also human rights. The theme of this year’s conference on the occasion of the International Children’s Day is “The right of the child to a life free from violence”. In addition to the children who were the main delegates, representatives of UNICEF, the UN, and representatives of the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina also spoke.
“Never since 1945 have so many children died like this year. In addition, we are witnessing the rise of online violence, we are witnessing the development of artificial intelligence and these are all things that need to be discussed, because they influence and change the world for the children who grow up in it”, says Ingrid Macdonald, resident coordinator of the UN of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“I’m sorry that we have a tragic situation in the world, which is that the children of Gaza, the children of Syria, the children of Ukraine are dying today. In my opinion, children are the most vulnerable today,” adds Sevlid Hurtić, Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Violence against children and women, peer violence, and online violence are the most pressing problems of today, according to the Center for Education and Research “Nahla”. With a focus on the digital world, they presented part of the conclusions of the three-year project.
“Today is such a time when children are online a lot and use technology, so we thought it would be good for them to find things that are useful and good in that online space. That online module is actually interactive and it is quite interesting for children to learn about children’s rights and how to protect themselves from violence in a fun way, and it is also a teaching tool that teachers can use in class”, Azra Ibrahimović, head of Nahla’s psychological counseling centers.
The lack of security in all spheres of life is cited as the biggest problem today. Children, today even louder, brought their problems to light. However, now it’s the turn of the adults.