Humans in chains

People ask what is human rights? Where do they come from? Human rights can be referred to any right or freedom to which all humans are entitled to. The UN pinpoints that the human rights originated in the year 539 BC, when the troops of Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. Cyrus freed the slaves, declared the freedom of religion and choice and established equality. These served as inspiration for the first four articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Since then, there have been treaties that recognized the need to give a single, equal status to all human beings.

With the creation of the UN after World War II, 30 articles that make up the universal declaration of human rights were presented to the world. But some parts of the world were still in the dark ages about human rights.

Different parts of the world still suffered great violations of human rights through wars and other crises before and after the declaration of human rights. These wars have been a major form of human rights violations.

Nowadays, in a globalized world with globalized integration of employment, goods and services markets, new kinds of violations have emerged, such as modern slavery, defined as any work or service which is exacted from any person under threat of a penalty.

The UN and the African Union have contributed to the betterment of human rights in Africa, but human rights abuses still occur in many sections of the continent like north, central and west Africa. Especially the rights of women and children.

Common amongst children: economic and sexual abuse, gender bias in education and being caught in the cross fire during armed conflicts. According to statistics from UNICEF, the International Labor Organization and the World Bank approximately 167 million children of age range 5 to 17 are engaged in child labor.

Each human being is entitled to the right to life, freedom of thought and expression, the right to good health care and healthy living, the right to choose their religion, the right to be free from all emotional and mental torture. These and many more are very vital.

After about 70 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, these rights are still highly violated in most parts of the world, even in my own country: Cameroon.

This year we commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most widely ratified UN treaty. The Convention says that children have rights, but some of them are highly violated here in Cameroon.

Every child has the right to good, healthy living, and good shelter. But these rights are neglected here. Many children find it difficult to get good and affordable houses. Because of these poor living conditions many of them fall sick and can't go to school.

The right to eat and eat healthy is also not respected. Due to the Anglophone crisis, many areas in Cameroon have become overcrowded, and people make money by raising the prices of fruits, vegetables, etc. This makes life very difficult for children.

Every child has the right to education, but this is not the case. Some children are expose to bullying, thefts, fighting, tribalism and discrimination in their schools.

Regarding the Anglophone crisis, many children have been stripped of their rights to education. In cases where kids manage to go to school, they go in hiding and in fear. Because of the constant lock downs and threads on teachers, they are scared to go to school. In most cases, some who brave the odds, ends up getting kidnapped, tortured and could even lose their lives.

In all this, some pressing questions are: Are the lives and dreams of children safe? With the growing population of the world are issues of human rights violations improving or becoming worse? Are the protection and enjoyment of human rights today better than yesterday? Have humans been freed from their chains or humans are still held bound in chains by themselves? How can children and young people be protected and enjoy their rights fully?

As young people and children, our actions and choices today will determine our future lives tomorrow. This means we can change the world if we stick together and help each other. By asking for our rights peacefully but boldly, respectfully but determined, with love in our hearts, by showing kindness to every child in need in our own way. As children's rights are violated in every part of the world, as adults, you can support the younger ones by teaching them love, share and care, by protecting them, giving them love and respect. As adults, you can support the younger once by teaching them to love, share, care. And by helping every child in need with love, because love begins at home.

Everyone wants a world free of torments, torture of all kinds, a world where you and I can dream young dreams and new ideas freely, living wisely and putting God first.

So, Let Love Lead.

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My view on child rights

I start painting from my childhood, since I was in grade 1 in School, using coloring books and my interest in art developed. I like to paint the human problems that we are facing. I draw different paintings in my class in art competitions. In this painting, I’ve used pastel colors and oil paints, to make the picture more realistic!

With this painting, I would like to convey the message that having children involved in child labor and not going to school for education is something against the spirit of article No. 28 "Every child has the right to get a good quality of education". I tried my best to show the problem: one boy is struggling, while the other boy is going to school.

I painted this to deliver a message to children, youth, and adults that every child has equal rights and every child has a right to get good quality education, and everyone should help the children to get education.

saman painting

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Words for the launching of the Faith and Children’s Rights Study

Lamija – Bosnia & Herzegovina

Esselamu alejkum, peace be upon you. My name is Lamija Hašimović, I am a Muslim and I come from Bosnia and Herzegovina, more precisely from a city called Visoko. I am an activist at a Muslim organization called "Youth Network", as well as at the Association of Women for Interreligious Dialogue in Family and Society "Mozaik", and the Global Network of Religions for Children.

My country is known for its natural beauty, Bosnian coffee, and unique culture. Unfortunately, it is also known for the ethnical rooted war between Bosnians, Serbs, and Croats and for the Srebrenica genocide where more than 8000 Bosnian were killed. Most of them men and boys; boys whose children's rights were not respected. After 25 years, we continue striving to overcome the aftermath of the war, which also involves the need to respect the rights of all children.

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