The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojković took part in the workshop to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, organized under the auspices of the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade, where famous musician Goran Bregović was promoted to UNICEF regional ambassador.
Gojković said she was pleased that a new UNICEF regional ambassador was promoted at the Belgrade IPU Assembly, one who will, knowing his energy and efforts, contribute to better protection of child rights. Gojković said she expected Bregović’s recognisability in the region would garner more media attention for issues concerning child rights, their advancement and protection.
As Chairperson of the Serbian Assembly’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, Gojković said she was very happy that Serbia is the place where this document so globally important for child rights will celebrate its 30th anniversary, seeing how our country was among the first to ratify the Convention.
Gojković said that as we remember this historic moment today it is important to ask ourselves what we have done and what other tasks await us.
Gojković said that today, according to UN data, hundreds of millions of children worldwide are exposed to violence and live in poverty, the most vulnerable among them living in conflict zones or forced to leave their homes due to conflict.
This shows us that our work is not done, that as societies individually and together at the level of international organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, we have to focus our attention on the implementation of sustainable development goals to make sure children grow up in better environment.
Gojković noted that Serbia, as well as the countries in the region, is tasked with improving the status of children and protecting children’s rights, adding that though Serbia has made significant progress in this area, it still needs to pass a law on child rights and children’s ombudsman.
“Caring for children today means caring for the society and our world tomorrow! That is why the common task of all of us – parliamentarians, civil society organizations, celebrities and influencers, the media – must be to make additional efforts to improve the conditions for children’s education and growing up”, said Gojković.
Bregovic thanked the IPU for inviting him to participate in this session and said that he was honoured to promote and advocate the rights of every child, recalling that 30 years ago, leaders made a promise by signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child that they wanted to improve their lives, but the reality is that millions of children face the violation of these rights.
Bregović said that we all know that the experiences we had as a child shaped our growing up and, for example, when he lived in Sarajevo, he was surrounded by diversity, a fact still reflected in his music. Bregovic pointed out that in many ways children in Europe and Central Asia live better than they did 30 years ago, however Roma children belong to the most vulnerable group and are more likely to be born prematurely, less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to leave school without finishing it. He also said that there are many faced by child migrants.
“I will do everything I can, and you as parliamentarians can do much more, to fulfill the promise of 30 years ago that every child, even the most vulnerable, has their rights,” Bregović said.
The participants of the workshop were also addressed by IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Afshan Khan who said that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified UN document.