In Iraq, no Celebration on this World Children’s Day as children and young people face risks and uncertainties amid violence and protests

News and Press Release
Originally published

By Hamida Lasseko, Representative, UNICEF Iraq

BAGHDAD, 20 November 2019, “Today is World Children’s Day. It is the day when the world celebrates 30 years of the adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, or CRC. The CRC enshrines a child’s full range of human rights, including the rights to protection from violence, education, health, and self-expression. One hundred and fourty countries, including Iraq, have signed the CRC, making it the most widely ratified UN treaty in history.”

“In Iraq, UNICEF has been looking forward to celebrating this historic day. But we had to cancel these plans as children and adolescents have been killed and injured since protests began in Iraq on 1 October.

“Most of the protestors in Iraq are young people. Iraq is one of the youngest nations in the world; half of all Iraqis are under the age of 18. Nearly one in five young people is unemployed, making Iraq one of the countries with the highest youth unemployment rates in the region.”

“The violence has not been limited to the streets. UNICEF confirms there are cases where babies and children were put at risk as a result of the violence taking place close to the hospital and the school where they were present. Attacks on education and medical facilities are grave violations of children’s right. Children must be protected at all times and their safety and right to life must be a primary consideration.”

“UNICEF calls all parties to protect children and young people from violence and uphold their right to express themselves, free from violence and intimidation. Children and young people are the cornerstone for the peaceful future of Iraq, so well deserved after decades of conflict, violence and turmoil”.

About UNICEF: UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

For more information please contact:
Zeina Awad, UNCEF Iraq Office, +964 782 782 0238,
Juliette Touma, UNICEF MENA Office, +962 9867 4628