King Mohammed VI has called on the international community, and the influential powers in particular, to shoulder their historic responsibility towards children who are suffering from violence, exploitation and neglect.
In a message addressed to participants in the 5th Islamic conference of ministers in charge of Childhood, convened Wednesday in Rabat, the Moroccan Sovereign said children are the future of mankind, but they are facing numerous and interconnected dangers which can undermine their potential and put their future in jeopardy if they are not provided with education, cultural guidance and rehabilitation.
“Such efforts should contribute to children’s integration into the knowledge and communication-based world, making them open to human civilization and to the changes we are witnessing today”, said the Sovereign in his message that was read out by minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid.
Regarding international protection for child rights, “we must draw attention to the tragic situation of children throughout the world, particularly in some Arab, African and Asian countries, not to mention regions affected by wars and ethnic strife, in which children are exposed to displacement and criminal exploitation”, said the royal message.
Because of these tragic situations, which are a challenge to the conscience of the world, King Mohammed VI urged the international community to act and take whatever measures needed – before it is too late – in order to save children from the scourge of war, conflict, epidemics, famine and extremist and terrorist groups, as well as from the tragedies relating to illegal migration.
“Not only do our countries share the same principles and values advocated by our faith, which urges us to care for children and safeguard their rights, but they also face similar challenges,” said the Monarch.
“Islamic countries should therefore enhance their solidarity and cooperation, pool efforts, share the experience gained in the area of child protection and seek to craft constructive, innovative partnerships that take into account the distinctive features of our countries”, added the Moroccan Sovereign, noting that efforts should also be made to involve the actors concerned, including civil society groups.
He went on to say that the various forms of violence, exploitation and neglect to which children are exposed – particularly new forms of violence and the employment of minors – require the establishment of a system for reporting violations that involves all the parties concerned, including the family, school and society.
Given the physical and moral violence and abuse suffered by children, sometimes at the hands of trusted relatives who deal with them on a daily basis, “we need to come up with mechanisms to document this type of abuse and define indicators and data for the development of prevention programs”, stressed King Mohammed VI, recalling the various actions, laws and programs launched in Morocco to protect children.
As you know, “guaranteeing the rights of children hinges, first and foremost, on enabling them to enjoy their basic rights to health, education, housing and social protection”, explained the royal message, saying that these are the same rights mentioned in the Sustainable Development Goals, which also include an explicit call to combat violence against children.
“Islamic countries are therefore expected to invest in all sectors concerning child-related issues and challenges, by seeking to combat poverty, tackle the repercussions of climate change, ensure food security, keep abreast of the digital revolution and provide for security and stability”, said the King.
“I am confident that the soon-to-be-established advisory council for the advancement of child-related issues in the Islamic world will serve as a powerhouse for suggestions aimed at tackling common challenges in connection with children”, underlined the Monarch.
“Today’s children are tomorrow’s citizens. Our children will carry the Islamic Ummah’s future if we manage to protect them and give them what they need to achieve fulfilment and be open-minded, said the royal message.