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Children's Week to Highlight Children's Rights and Needs

07.10.2013 11:22
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Ljubljana, 7 October (STA) - Children's Week, an initiative that grew out of the UN's Universal Children's Day, will start in Slovenia on Monday, focusing this year on the role of children in society and featuring around 250 events around the country. Experts have been warning that many children are lonely despite the modern means of communication.

The initiative dates back to the times of the former Yugoslavia, which decided to extend the UN's Children's Day, later set for 20 November, to a whole week and keep the October date originally proposed by the UN, Majda Struc of the Friends of the Youth Association ZPMS, which coordinates the events, has told the STA.

Some of the main focus points for this year were presented last week in a joint address by ZPMS head Darja Groznik and Human Rights Ombudsman Vlasta Nussdorfer, who stressed that social and material conditions should not be an obstacle to protecting children's rights.

Parents need to provide conditions that encourage children to grow up and become independent, while they need to be protected from any forms of bodily or mental violence.

Children moreover need somebody to listen and pay attention to them, expert Albert Mrgole has pointed out, warning that many children are lonely today and that the number of children and young people in distress who call the kids helpline is constantly increasingly to what is presently 25,000 a year.

The ZPMS and its local branches will organise around 250 events this week, such as workshops, debates, sports events and shows for children, also dealing with some of the topics highlighted by Nussdorfer.

She has pointed to the problem of poverty, stressing that the state should secure at least one warm meal a day. Children moreover deserve free health care, as well as protection in trials and against violence, the human rights ombudsman has said, regretting that it is often the parents who violate children's rights.

Another issue highlighted is internet addiction and the search for virtual friends, who can also be harmful, said Nussdorfer.

This has been echoed by President Borut Pahor, who has noted for the STA that modern technology can also be a trap. "All this is excessively replacing conversation, looking somebody in the eye and real friendship, play, fun in nature and at home," he said.


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