In his address at opening of the Fifth Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood: ISESCO Director General affirms royal message to Conference contained deep insights, forward-looking visions and wise guidance to serve, take care of and protect the Child
The Director General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), Dr Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, gave an address at the opening of the Fifth Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood, which kicked off today morning, at ISESCO headquarters in Rabat, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
At the outset of his address, Dr Altwaijri expressed his thanks and gratitude to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco for his high patronage for this Conference, warm praise for ISESCO, and firm support for its civilizational mission, expressed in his royal message. “His Majesty’s message contained deep insights, forward-looking visions and wise guidance on child issues which will be of great use to this Conference in achieving its goals and an official guidance working document”, he added.
In addition, the Director General stated that this session is being held amid difficult circumstances and turbulent situations witnessed in many OIC Member States, which negatively reflect on the efforts invested in the fields of comprehensive development. “Some regions in the Islamic world became plagued by upheavals, wars, crises and unrest causing their peoples to join the ranks of the most suffering peoples in the world due to the widespread poverty and illiteracy, and the exacerbating violence and extremism”, he explained. He added that, as a consequence, the number of children victims of conflicts and lack of peace, security and stability in some Islamic states is continuously growing, stating that Palestinian children are by far the Islamic world’s most suffering children. “Their internationally-recognized rights are constantly violated by the brutal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and the criminal practices of its soldiers and settlers, who relentlessly infringe on the most basic human rights that the international community and its specialized organizations and bodies approved”, he maintained.
Dr Altwaijri also maintained that children’s suffering aggravates in conflict-ridden areas such as in Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan, leading to an extremely cruel humanitarian catastrophe that calls for taking a collective initiative to support these groups of children in the Islamic world, ensure their safety and safeguard their lives.
“While we, at ISESCO’s General Directorate, are cognizant and appreciative of the efforts sustained by OIC Member States to protect children and guarantee their rights,bwe are also fully aware of the serious humanitarian, social and economic repercussions of depriving children of their rights, especially their right to protection, which can sometimes undermine social stability and peace, and mar the efforts to attain comprehensive sustainable development”, Dr Altwaijri said.
In addition, he explained that the theme “Towards a Safe Childhood” chosen for this session reflect the key mission that must be undertaken by Their Excellencies heads and members of delegations to achieve the desired objective set for this Conference, arguing that knowledge and expertise exchange, and experience sharing are the best way of joint action to protect children and fully guarantee their rights.
The Director General drew attention to the figures indicated in regional and international organizations’ reports and data concerning the growing violence recorded against children in all its forms in some OIC Member States which he described as very alarming. “This entails that childhood protection must be at the top of all priorities in accordance with the principles of Sharia (Islamic Law) and in conformity with the International Humanitarian Law, especially the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a reference document in child service, welfare and protection”, he maintained.
In the same vein, the Director General stated that although ISESCO appreciates the measures taken and achievements made by the majority of Member States for the benefit of childhood, many of which were made in strategic partnership and sustained cooperation with the civil society organizations and bodies outstandingly active in the field of childhood protection and welfare, the Organization records a scant progress in some Member States with regard to addressing a number of child-related phenomena and problems. “Children in these Member States suffer from violence, child labor, exploitation, ill-treatment, discrimination, and do not receive adequate protection, quality health and social services, and other basic child needs, which are quintessentially legitimate rights”, he further explained.
The Director General stated that this Conference session will discuss a number of specialized reference documents pertaining to child protection against all forms of violence and the required mechanisms thereto, which include the Draft General Framework for Protecting Muslim World Children from Violence, which we consider as a roadmap to address and counter this phenomenon.
As such, he maintained that this session will complement the previous four sessions held respectively in Rabat, Khartoum, Tripoli and Baku by accumulating considerable achievements for the benefit of children in the Islamic world, contributing to child protection, welfare and capacity-building, and meeting the expectations of Member States with regard to establishing a comprehensive and multi-dimensional sustainable development, and in line with the efforts geared towards promoting and supporting human development.
In conclusion, ISESCO Director General stressed that “it is time to translate words into actions, shift from slogans to concrete results, and move from unsupported goodwill to effective and influential resolutions, in service of childhood and in response to its expectations”.