Written by Ellen Kalisperati
There is nothing more beautiful heartwarming than the purest laugh of a child.
On 11 December is the International Children’s Day. Children all around the world, regardless of their color are celebrating their childishness. In our country children are the first victims of the economic and social crisis. Certainly we ought to fight for the protection of their rights and eliminate all forms of violence, exploitation and racist or discriminatory behavior against them. More specifically, till now there have been recorded several incidents where children’s rights are being violated. The situation in Greece according to the National Centre of Social Research, according to the Social Portrait of Greece 2010 children and adolescents live in destitute conditions. Although Greek households with underage children fall in absolute numbers, the number of poor children has increased steadily. Today, 23.3% of children aged 0 -17 years old live in poverty, on the margins of society, and the rate is growing.
As for the child labor the Children’s Ombudsman George Moschos claims that “the black market of labor” flourishes in our country. According to data from the Labor Force Survey, it is estimated that about 20,000 teens are working legally. However, the actual number of juvenile workers is five times that. As assessed by the Children’s Ombudsman, 75,000 teens are working in the black labor market.
It is also estimated that not more than 70 underage children are living in prison, while 5,000 children with disabilities or chronic illnesses living in institutions. The Children’s Ombudsman conducts struggle for years to close the old, large institutions and replaced them by small alternative structures to incarceration and special protective roofs hospitality. He has also submitted a recommendation to the Central Scientific Council for the Prevention and Treatment of victimization and juvenile delinquency within the Ministry of Justice for their propensity for adolescents with delinquency or already imprisoned. A similar suggestion has been made to the Ministry for Health Care Centers for Children with disabilities and chronic illnesses. As stated by Mr. Musk “small structures are cheaper and also pay more attention to the scientific staff and less on administrative, to which the major focus points.” It has also been proposed in the Regions to undertake (n the non-city, village and town regions of Greece) dissemination of fostering, according to which, families with the support of the state can take care of children easier and better than what they could alone. Again the cost of the support offered by the state is less than the maintenance of institutions. (Translation from Greek .)
We need to ensure that all citizens must prosecute any racist or discriminatory behavior against children of various ethnicities, immigrants, asylum seekers, children with disabilities, and other such vulnerable groups. Furthermore, we must fight for the eradication of all forms of domestic violence against children, as well as eliminate all corporal punishment for children.
The access of all children to education must be ensured and obvious, as well as the access to vaccines and healthcare services free of charge. Moreover all children around the world should be protected from sexual exploitation and all forms of labor exploitation against them. And of course, the most important for the given time, is to protect children from the effects of the economic crisis (homelessness or adequate nutrition, psychosocial care, etc.).
Finally, it is vital for every child to be able to raise his voice and say (translation from Greek ):
I am entitled to grow up in a world without violence and poverty.
I am entitled to live in a world that respects and protects the natural environment.
I am entitled to free access to the magical world of knowledge.
I am entitled to have free time and space to play.
I am entitled to know what is good for my physical and mental health.
I am entitled to spend time with my parents.
I am entitled to live in a society that protects my privacy.
I am entitled to a humanitarian world, one that is peaceful – A world in which I would be proud to raise my own children some day.
For further information read the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 .
 childrensrightsportal.org, Convention on the Rights of the Child
 amnestyusa.org, Convention on the Rights of the Child