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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Children Are Children Every Day

"I do not know how anyone thinks it is possible to have a country, a future, to make progress, if children do not attend school. Children are the future, yours and mine, and of the whole world. There is no future without school." A. K, a refugee from Syria said.

UNIVERSAL CHILDREN'S DAY. The day which is celebrated around the world. The day when we remind each other that children do have rights. The day when we examine what and how much we have done for the benefit of children, whether the rights of each child are respected and ensured without discrimination.

Today, 27 years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we are still talking about legally invisible children, children without a name and date of birth, children without identity. "You exist, but as if you were not present in this world.”, legally invisible R. B. from an informal Roma settlement near Belgrade would say.

The violation of the rights of girls and boys to the development and timely education are still justified by the common law of the Roma community, and we tacitly allow that child, early and forced marriages are an everyday life for a significant number of Roma children, denying them thus an opportunity to enjoy their childhood and the freedom of choice. ”You are a child, and then you are a woman. You are never a girl!”, M. A., a young girl from an informal Roma settlement in central Serbia would say.  M. A. “got married” when she was 13, and became a mother for the first time when she was 14. Today, she dreams that her daughter has a childhood, finishes the university, becomes a successful woman who had a chance to choose her future.

Thousands of refugee children are still exposed to numerous risks and dangers every day. Hunger, cold, uncertainty and fear are the main companions on a daily route to a better future. Childhood, carefreeness, child's play, school and the family are only a part of their dream. Some have embarked on this journey completely alone. "I do not know what to do now, but I have no choice, I have to try to cross the border.", a sixteen-year-old unaccompanied minor, A. H. from Afghanistan said.

Children are children every day. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They do not understand what legal invisibility means, they do not know what the common law is, nor why they have to flee from the war. Today, on Universal Children's Day, we want to remind that the rights of the child must be ensured and respected, regardless of the status of a child and circumstances in which it lives.

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