The global community is today commemorating the 2019 International Day of the African Child under the theme: “Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children`s Rights First.” The annual event is dedicated to honoring the courage of about 10,000 schoolchildren who participated in the 1976 Soweto Uprising and raising global awareness about the challenges of realizing the full rights of children in Africa.
Since 1991, June 16 is globally recognized as the International Day of the African Child; it was introduced by the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) as a memorial in honour of hundreds of black schoolchildren killed in the June 16 Soweto Uprising of 1976 in South Africa as well as to highlight the need for governments to ensure the protection of child rights including providing quality education and skills necessary for children`s survival, growth and development in Africa.
This year`s commemoration is focused on ensuring the delivery of humanitarian assistance to children who have no power or lack the ability to acquire basic amenities including access to quality education and healthcare.
At least 13.5 million African children have been displaced from their homes as a result of conflicts, climate change and poverty and are therefore in dire need of humanitarian assistance, according to InterAction – the largest alliance of international non-governmental organizations dedicated to eliminating extreme poverty and hunger to ensure dignity for all people across the world.
The United Nations Children`s Fund (UNICEF) says there are about 263 million out-of-school children in Africa – out of which, 61 million are of primary school age; 60 million of junior secondary school age; and 142 million of senior secondary school age. Although they are seen as the future of the world, millions of children are living as refugees, migrants or internally displaced persons, without access to the necessary resources and opportunities to help them fulfill their potentials in life.
The African Union recently launched the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …