Dear friends,

We are glad to inform you that after our pleasant experience with the Italian blog, the IIMA Human Rights Office has decided to open a new blog in English.

On this blog, you may follow our main activities with the United Nations and its mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as news from the UN bodies and IIMA offices in different countries related to the right to education.

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Have a great time reading!


Dear Humanity, find your lost childhood!

Today, all of us go back and we are little kids again. On November 20th, the World celebrates the International Day of the Child. This day reminds us of the date when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Dignity. That is the magic word.
Dignity was born together with the human being, you can read it in his eyes. It is not transmitted through DNA.
Dignity is something you take care of, with devotion. Dignity must be stated, not conquered as a war chest. It is both gift and responsibility.
It is not a privilege. It is the beating heart of life.  
Dignity gives you freedom; it is not the stone that an oyster transforms into a beautiful pearl after an enduring sufferance.
My child, that pearl belongs to you, already. It should belong to you already.
Forgive me if I am forced to speak of it as a dream, instead of an actuality.
We must forgive this world that disfigures your right!

A preamble is unfortunately necessary. Even if it should not be.
Fifty-four articles and two Optional Protocols in the Convention are there to remind us of who is a child and which rights he is supposed to have.  
In 1923, The Declaration of the Rights of the Child was written, followed by Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1924. On November 20th, 1959, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a much-expanded version as its own Declaration of the Rights of the Child; in 1989, UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Law stands as a warranty device: legislative instruments organize the protection of children’s rights. The interest of the minor is identified with the broadest possible application of the right to education, through the creation of conditions conducive to the widest and most complete development of his or her personality, progressively enhancing autonomy and accountability. In theory, at least.
In fact, if we take a walk through History, we realize how hard it is being children, if no one chooses to protect them in practice.
Several questions resound: what about care of children without a family? What about protecting the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation?
It is not surprising, after all. Some among the States in our globalized world, which boasts itself as civilized and reverent, you may leave a reminder to the United States (and why not, to Somalia), recalling that there would be a Convention to ratify (and to be respected, if possible!).  Maybe they forgot...
Exceptions should not be given, if we are talking about human beings. There should be no exclusions, when we talk about children.
Unfortunately, violations of the rights of children have no borders. They are perpetrated everywhere and no State is immune. There is no class, no civilization, and no culture to serve as a barrier that prevents the violation.

It is not enough to talk about this in an impersonal way. So…
My Child, you die everyday.
You are killed by hunger, misery and extreme poverty and by the more common diseases.
My Child, you suffer violence and that will be part of you forever.
You don’t go to school. Maybe you would like to go. You are forced to learn by what you are living, even when pain is your teacher.
My Child, you are a soldier and war is raping your eyes and your heart.
My Child, bad men and women force you to work, they are abusing the more intimate part of your dreams, they sell you as if you were worthless and they humiliate you.

Childhood is denied, because of the reverence men show to the god of money, because economic priority wins over children’s rights: it is just a collateral damage for powerful men who give a speech from the podium.
There is an echo of fear. That is not our own. That is not yours.
We weep for a pain that does not belong to us. Or at least we deceive ourselves, and all the drama arrives late on the story.
Remember? "No one can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matt 6:24) At some point everything will become a spiral of suffering. It already is. We already are inside that vortex. We are powerlessly trying to get out from under the one who forgot how to be human, of those who, almost absolved by the rules of business, or justified by relative morals, continue to steal dreams, to break voices, to tear dolls made of rags.
The real problem is that too many people have forgotten that they were children once.
Maybe it's time to apply that article 12, about the children’s right to expression. Maybe children would like to be heard. Do we ever question them? Do we ever ask for their opinion?
Dear Humanity, every child has a right to play.
It is enshrined in Article 31 of that Declaration that you committed to respect. Here we are: a bitter smile, what a joke! The child has the right to play, to run with the other children, to be relieved from the burden of the world, having fun and enjoying childhood. It’s something that is so natural  that it is unnatural to need it signed in black and white, in order to comply.
Dear humanity, every child has a right to his childhood.
Do not ask him to grow up so fast. Do not force him to become an adult without first having been a child. Do not force him to defend himself from you, to learn how to survive and to rely only on himself.
We are the result of the love we have experienced; of the voice we have been hearing and of the education we have been receiving. 2014 is coming and still man undermines the dignity and self-esteem of children. Which kind of adult are they going to be tomorrow? What will they remember of that childhood they never had? What will they tell us about their troubled life?
The beauty of a child has no criteria, no rules, and no repeats. It is unique. Here comes again that dream that should be an actuality.
Children are usually told stories. The stories that help them to grow up, those made up of heroes and happy endings.
What would you tell a street child, or to one who has suffered violence, and who won’t forget it, as a brand on his skin? How could we explain to him,  "You know, my child, all men are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” What would you say when a slave of hunger and misery, or even worse, of the shallowness of men, asks "so I’m free as well?” And you'll have to look him straight into his eyes, telling him “no, that doesn’t apply to you. And you have to accept it, but without whining.”
Children are subjects of debate in universities, recipients of compassion, banner of the struggle, while the parliaments debating the issue, ideologies justify them, religions console them.
Meanwhile, good people stand silent.
Wake up, World! It is the International Day of Children and they are not just extras. They want to be actors, directors, creators, designers, writers and lighting technicians, composers of the soundtrack and costume designers of the great spectacle that is Life.
Imagine some scenes of everyday life, which are repeated in every corner of the world, but according to different rules. There are those who are privileged and those who are victims.
There should only be children.

IIMA was created to promote the right to education for children and young people and it encourages education to the Human Rights. Together with VIDES, we strongly believed for years in education as a driving force for Life.  
Today is a joyful celebration day, but it’s also the day for suffering and for fighting.
That’s why, Dear Humanity, we wish you the best, towards a future for real freedom:
You will take the best interests of the children as a primary consideration. (Article 3)
You will recognize that every child has the inherent right to life.  (Article 6)
You will ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will.
(Article 9)
You will state the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. (Article 27)
You will protect the right to education for children. (Article 28)
You will protect them from economic exploitation. (Article 32)
You will never reduce them to soldiers again and you will guarantee respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts, which are relevant to the child. (Article 38)

All your children will have the same right to grow up.

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