Khaldoun Sinno, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina, stressed that the Convention on the rights of the child is widely accepted and ratified. “The European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region is working hard to ensure that children have their rights; that a child can be a child and that children need to learn how to live in line with their rights. Above all, a child should have a social space, a safe space in order to fulfil their potential. I am happy that today we are especially focusing on the rights of those children who have travelled far and wide, who have come a long way. The European Union has been providing a lot of support to ensure that such children, currently in BiH, go to school, learn the language and play, the same as all other children.”
The stories of children living in immigration reception centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina were portrayed in a performance by students of the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. One of the students, 15 year-old Amina Alihodžić, noted “This was an unsettling experience for all of us because these are children’s stories. We have portrayed the stories of immigrant and refugee children who have experienced distressing situations during their journey. I think this is a good way to raise awareness of the issue,” said Amina.
Head of UNICEF in BiH, Dr Rownak Khan, underlined the importance of the Convention: “We are celebrating 30 years of the Convention, the most important and powerful legal instrument enabling each child to be child. The Convention binds the state and decision makers to ensure that every child, regardless of their circumstances, has access to health protection, learning opportunities, a protective environment and the possibility to express themselves and participate in decision-making processes that affect their wellbeing.”
“This event aims to draw attention to the rights of migrant and refugee children who are currently in BiH. The message of the event is – A Child is Child - since we are trying to convey the message that regardless of where and in what situation they are in, who their parents and abilities are – every child has equal rights guaranteed by the Convention,” said Nela Kačmarčik, Head of Communications of UNICEF BiH.
The event was enriched by three exhibitions of art work produced by children and youth from migrant reception centres in BiH, a photo exhibition created during the campaign „Pričaj mi“ and an exhibition of posters “A Child is A Child”, created by young designers and artists for UNICEF BiH. The event also featured a video “Pričaj mi” (“Talk to me”) produced by Humanity in Action, dedicated to raising the awareness of BiH citizens on the suffering of children and young adults who have escaped their countries searching for a better and a safer future.