Thimphu, November 20, 2020: To celebrate the World Children’s Day and to mark 30 years of Bhutan signing and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, His Holiness the Je Khenpo today issued a decree calling on all to ensure the wellbeing of the children for all times to come.
“Bhutan’s efforts towards children’s wellbeing and happiness is commendable. I urge all to continue the efforts and work together to build a society fit for our children, one that cares for the happiness and best interests of our children at all times,” the decree states.
To celebrate the day, the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) in partnership with the Dratshang Lhentshog Secretariat, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF Bhutan organized a dialogue between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Chairperson of the NCWC Dr Tandi Dorji and children on issues concerning children especially during the pandemic.
During the dialogue, Lyonpo interacted and responded to questions from children on education, health and child protection issues. The dialogue will be aired on BBS 1 after the 9 PM news and on BBS 2 from 8.30PM today.
World Children’s Day, Lyonpo said, is not only a time to celebrate but also to remind all, especially decision and policy makers on the commitments they have made, to abide by them and for children to demand action as many are doing the world over.
“Despite the good work undertaken by the Government and many civil society groups, there is still much to be done to ensure the rights of our children and to enable them to fully participate in the society,” Lyonpo said. “As a small Least Developed Country, Bhutan continues to face a number of constraints in terms of resources, capacity and infrastructure. There are many competing priorities of the Government especially during this pandemic with limited resources and disruptions in our economy. However, Bhutan stands firm in its efforts to uphold and implement the principles and provisions of this convention.”
“Today as we join many other countries in the world to advocate for all children, let us particularly commit and remember those who are not heard, for the children who are in need of special care and protection, for the children who need us every day to thrive and those most vulnerable. Let us work hard, diligently and hope for a brighter and better future, especially for our children in the post COVID era,” Lyonpo said.
To mark signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 20 is celebrated globally as World Children’s Day. This year is extra special for Bhutan as the nation celebrates 30 years of signing and ratifying the Convention. Bhutan was among the first countries to sign the Convention on June 4, 1990 and ratify it on August 1 the same year.
Amongst the most important achievements after Bhutan ratified the Convention are the drafting of the National Child Policy, the National Action Plan for Child Wellbeing and Protection 2020 and the strengthening of the protection system through development of critical Standard Operating Procedures, guidelines and manuals related to case management, adoptions and alternative care.
The establishment of the Woman and Child Toll Free Helpline 1098 and the Central Management System were key initiatives enabling timely and effective services and a systematic approach for the collection of data. The institutional mechanism was further enhanced through setting up of the Dzongkhag and Thromde Women and Children Committees and the Women and Children Welfare Committees at the national level.
UNICEF Bhutan Representative Dr Will Parks said that the World Children’s Day this year is taking place during one of the most challenging times.
“The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the deep inequalities in our societies and impacted all of us, especially children,” Dr Will Parks said. “UNICEF Bhutan remains committed to support the efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan to reimagine a more equal, just and sustainable society for our children.”
As the occasion also coincides with the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, a thousand butter lamps were lit at the Kuenray of the Trashichhodzong and prayers recited.