December 10 marks International Human Rights Day when in 1948, following the Second World War, the United Nations unanimously adopted a charter of 30 articles to promote justice, security, and equality for all. The international community came together and vowed to never again allow such atrocities and complemented the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of everyone, everywhere. This document later became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, protracted crises, extremism, political uncertainty, and forced migration continue to threaten human rights.
The Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most translated documents around the world, written in over 464 languages, and has served as the foundation for various treaties, conventions and reforms, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Child Rights are Human Rights
Signed in 1989, the Convention affirms that every child has rights, whatever their ethnicity, gender, religion, language, abilities or any other status – including the right to an education. The UNCRC is the most ratified human rights treaty and all UN member states, except for the United States, have ratified the Convention. Research shows that upholding the rights of children, especially education, is crucial to any society’s progress – whether reducing poverty, boosting economic growth, promoting peace, and decreasing vulnerability. But sadly, the nearly universal acceptance of the Convention does not ensure that these rights are upheld.
Today, an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or disaster – the highest number of refugees and displaced persons since the Second World War. Over half of all refugees are children.
Though Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and equitable education for all, in developing countries such as Pakistan, access to quality education remains a continuous challenge. UNICEF estimates that 9.4 million primary school-aged children are out of formal education in Pakistan. Across the world, access to quality education remains a challenge and 124 million children do not go to school.
From Rights to Results
As a family-run company, NRS International feels a personal commitment to education. Since the onset of the school year, beginning in August 2016, we have funded over $40,000 to education and youth programs in Pakistan. Additionally, we have acquired a new public school that we plan to renovate for expanded student enrollment. Our projects include scholarships, sports, Model United Nations, and community engagement. But these projects are only one way; one company is working to give children access to education, opportunities to play, and space to develop.
During this year’s UN General Assembly, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown noted that by 2030, “if without adequate invention, 800 million of the 1.6 billion children of the world would leave their be education without sufficient qualifications.” In order for this gap to be bridged and the next generation to flourish, all stakeholders – including the private sector – must continue to stand for children’s rights and access to quality education.
Time to take action
Human Rights Day calls on all of us to take action for another’s rights. You and your company can stand for the right to education for some of the world’s most vulnerable children by signing this petition.
About Ms. Malick
Ms. Nicole Malick is the Head of CSR for NRS International based in Dubai. She is an international social worker recognized for her ability to effectively design programs that address corporate social responsibility, gender empowerment, peace building, youth engagement and human trafficking. Nicole’s ten years of international experience, spans the Middle East, Asia, and East Africa with public, non-profit, social enterprise, and multi-national companies.