Celebrating 2012 International Year of Janusz Korczak, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland hosted a symposium: Janusz Korczak and Children’s Rights in Contemporary Perspective
Report by Devindree Pillay
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Celebrating the 2012 International Year of Janusz Korczak, the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland hosted a day-long symposium – Janusz Korczak and Children’s Rights in Contemporary Perspective. The event was held at the Consulate General of Poland in Maddison Avenue, New york.
The program included three relevant panel discussions :
Part I: An exploration and appreciation of Janusz Korczak who was a champion of Children’s Human Rights
Part II: Children’s education and gender equality
Part III: Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
Despite cross-party support for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the fact that it is legally binding under international law, the present generation of children still have to endure considerable deficiencies in rights protection in certain countries. For example:
According to UNESCO an estimated 67 million children still remain out of school – and over half of them are girls. The crime of child trafficking has emerged as a multibillion dollar business whereby children are routinely bought, sold, and transported away from their homes into a range of exploitative situations including sexual abuse, domestic labour, and factory work. In the most severe cases, children are placed into life threatening situations, including extreme violence and exposure to communicable diseases. The freedom of expression, even the right to speak out against religious extremism and intolerance is still the cause of intimidation, violence and death amongst young religious activists.
Significant progress, in terms of human rights for children, has been made and the hope and promise for the future is that Janusz Korczak’s vision will gradually reach full fruition. Individuals and communities who are aware of their rights and are proactive in claiming these rights, can actually act as catalysts for long term change. In addition to being educated about human rights, an individual requires the inner strength gained from self respect and an enduring sense of dignity in order to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice.