“I didn’t want to be looked at as a victim… I had circumstances beyond my control but now I am here.” Mari Malek, once a refugee – now supermodel – was the opening speaker for the Economic Social Councils Annual Humanitarian Affairs Segment. She spoke beautifully on the topic of education and how the absence of education means no life, no enlightenment, no opportunity. She closed with a question to all in the counsel, for those who were not educated to raise their hand. The room remained silent. That silence provided a powerful truthto Ms. Malek’s words. Without that basic human right, none of the most powerful diplomats, leaders, institutions – it would not have existed.
Ms. Henrietta Fore, used the example to introduce the broader situation- children facing enormous human rights vulnerabilities. In the Chaisai region in the Democratic Republic of Congo, there were recently 200 health centers and 400 schools attacked. In 2016 alone, more than 8,000 children were killed in the areas being discussed. Violence against health care facilities results in an increase of children with disease, psychological trauma and a disruption of education. In Yemen, 1.8 million children are malnourished. Those frightening statistics attest to this growing trend of children becoming front line targets, killed and now acute malnutrition.
Finding an agreed upon resolution for this situation will take time, however, Ms. Fore concludedthe event with short term solutions. Children in those regions need to be provided with identification, utilizing Bangladesh as they have been aiding not acting as an enemy. Lastly, no one is born a good parent, everyone is the same and we must learn how to be one with the proper tools.
Meeting: ECOSOC – Humanitarian Affairs segment; plenary meeting 37
Location/time/date: ECOSOC UNHQ NYC; 10:00-13:00; June 20th 2018
Speakers: Mari Malek, Henreietta Fore; Executive Director UNICEF; Yasmine Sheriff, Director, Education Cannot Wait
Written by: WIT Representative, Ariel Granat