DUBAI: In line with the International Children’s Day, Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai organised its second forum promoting the ‘Know Your Rights’ programme. The forum aimed at raising community awareness and instilling the culture of protecting children’s rights across Dubai, as well as enhancing the role of educational institutions in terms of increasing better understanding of the rights of the child to protect them and achieve a fully child-friendly environment.

With the participation of many representatives from public and private schools and several government entities involved in child protection, the forum served as an effective platform to review the work progress of four schools participating in the programme. They presented their experiences, solutions and innovations developed to create a successful model of awareness and instilling a culture of children’s rights.

Maitha Al Shamsi, Executive Director of the Human Rights Sector at the Community Development Authority, said: “On November 20, the world celebrates the International Children’s Day, an ideal occasion to highlight the rights of children enshrined in international conventions, laws and procedures that the UAE has committed to promote and inculcate a culture of children’s rights and provide legal reference for their protection. ‘Know Your Rights’ is one of the most promising projects aimed at building a fully child-friendly environment. Since its launch in 2012, the programme has enjoyed a steady increase in the number of participants and the number of qualified trainers able to raise awareness about children’s rights. The launch of the forum last year was the culmination of these efforts, highlighting the importance of exchanging expertise and experiences as the best way to spread the culture of children’s rights and protect these rights.”

Al Shamsi added: “The enactment of Wadeema Law in 2016 and the issuance of its executive regulations in 2018 added a significant momentum to the protection of children, giving the necessary legal background and support for the protection of children’s rights and ensuring widest participation possible from all segments of society. We launched a campaign to raise awareness of children’s rights in cooperation with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to enhance the outcomes and results of the ‘Know Your Rights’ program, bringing the number of awareness activities for this purpose to about 813 during 2018, in cooperation with more than 20 public and private schools.”

Smart game

On the sidelines of the forum, CDA presented the game ‘my rights’, a smart application developed by CDA designed for children which help them identify their rights as a child through a game, which can be downloaded from the Apple Store and Google Play.

During the forum, a representative from UNICEF shared updates on the efforts of the international organisation for children in raising awareness of the rights of the child. An exhibition was also held on the sidelines of the forum where schools participating in the ‘Know Your Rights’ program has shown the various innovation they have created in raising children’s rights awareness.