UNICEF fights violence against children in Egypt

Children attend a class at a school at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2015. Nearly 3.5 million Afghan children, according to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), are out of school, although the country has made tremendous achievements in the education field over the past 14 years. (Xinhua/Omid)

Children attend a class at a school at a refugee camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2015. Nearly 3.5 million Afghan children, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are out of school, although the country has made tremendous achievements in the education field over the past 14 years. (Xinhua/Omid)

Many children in Egypt are being subjected to violence at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and nurture them, according to a detailed study carried out in 2013 by the Center for Development Studies for the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and UNICEF. This violence is often normalized by the adult perpetrators and even by the children themselves.

The study conducted by UNICEF focused on violence against children aged 13 to 17 in their homes and school settings. The introduction to the study goes like this: “Violence against children is unacceptable in any form, no matter what the circumstances. Violence threatens their very survival and undermines their development. It erodes family structures, affects communities’ cohesion, jeopardizes education and consumes precious national resources. Freedom from such violence is a fundamental right – a right that leaders in Egypt, as in other countries, have promised to safeguard for all children, everywhere and at all times. This study reveals that violence continues to be a fact of life for many Egyptian children. It finds that children are often at greatest risk in the very places where they should be safest: in their homes and in their schools.”

Joining UNICEF Ambassadors Orlando Bloom, Liam Neeson, Sir Roger Moore, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Priyanka Chopra and others, UNICEF Egypt started to promote their campaign against child violence titled: #fightunfair, with the help of different Egyptian figures. Artists like Hany Adel, Mona Zaki, and Ahmed Helmi, director Amr Salama, Musical composer Amr Khairat, adventurous athlete Omar Samra, football captains Mahmoud AlKhateeb and Hazem Imam, along with Mohamed Alshorbagy, the world No.1 ranked player in squash, Mohamed Seliem, Special Olympics Champion, and Mahmoud Kabil, Regional Ambassador for the Middle East and North Africa.

The campaign revolved around the rights children miss in Egypt, such as: “1.6 million children aged 5-17 are involved in child labor in Egypt and the majority of them work under hazardous working conditions,” “91% of children aged 1-14 experienced psychological aggression while being disciplined by family members in Egypt,” “Six in ten girls aged 15-17 in Egypt undergo Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.” and “There are around 320,000 child at the age of the primary stage who are out-of-school in Egypt,” among many other basic rights the children miss in their country.

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