Interviews on (1983-1989) advocates for Child Rights and Convention within UNICEF

I n response to research request,  Below are links to 1989 Interviews which throw some light on UNICEF early involvement with child rights and the drafting of the convention. Some early and consistent supporters such as Baquer Namazi are illustrated.

interview page 2
“85-“86 – began to hear about it seriously but Jim Grant even at that time
didn’t seem terribly enthusiastic. The “Children First” slogan was being
discussed, promoted by some. I was Regional Director in Nairobi by then. I
remember arguments in New York HQ that we would hefe (we Regional Directors)
when we came in. People in Information Division were all for the “Children
First” slogan and thought that was a great idea, but they were aware that JG
was hesitant about making that a slogan. So from the field we were just kind
of sitting there in the background watching these little tussles at HQ.
I myself did go on, but without ,».wasn’ t getting strong directives from HQ on
this. I didn’t oblige the country reps in my region to push this if they
weren’t so inclined. There were certain reps who were ready to go ahead,
eg., Namazi, who was personally very interested and concerned. He was the
one who kept raising these issues in the region. But it wasn’t until JG came
out straight and said it, he himself made it a priority, and this made the

But it wasn’t until JG came
out straight and said it, he himself made it a priority, and this made the
difference…  Regional Directors are more conscious of what he is feeling about things than perhaps others in the organization are. Reg Directors feel that we are his
personal representatives in the field. We are more sensitive to how he feels
about things, in addition to the official pronouncements that come out.
Once he said “Go”, the reaction varied according to the person. Some people
thought legislation could help, but we are so busy….I don’t think the
majority were turned on. It was one more thing… Most interested in ESAR
were Namazi
and Scholastica Somazzia ?
Because of Namazi’s personal commitment, he got ANPPCAN to sponsor…We had helped them get organized and we support their activities. We were helping develop a network of Africans concerned about child protection. He supported the effort—and so did I–£o get some Africans together at that meeting …
There were two meetings in Nairobi:
< ‘”>’* -^’
1) 6-10 July 1987 – UNICEF*ANPPCAN Conference on Children in Situations of
Armed Conflict in Africa. (PHS note: B Namazi’s statement as UNICEF rep then in Somalia, promotes Thedin’s idea of children as zone of peace, but no mention of Convention.) They talked about children’s rights in warfare and
displacement. Once this meeting happened, ANPPCAN organized another meeting:
page 4
So Namazi got program linked with high level policy makers, reaching planner
s and Finance Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry, trying to get a broader
veneer of “Children First”. They are moving on to a higher plane, partly
because Kenya is strong in this area.
Interview with Mary Racelis, Regional Director, ESARO; Chronology; First heard
of Convention ;1987-88 Meetings in Nairobi; early supporters like Banquer Namazi


About adhiratha

I joined the UN Secretariat in 1973 and UNICEF in 1974. During 2005-2006 I was on loan from UNICEF to UN Secretariat for special projects and between 2007 to 2010 was a consultant specialist for UNFPA. Have also been consultant or unpaid volunteer for various NGO's . My fathers favorite quote from Sri Chinmoy was : "There is only one perfect road and that road is ahead of you ,, Always Ahead of you...". Association with organizations that seek to implement the UN Charters goal of practical "oneness" feels like an inner connection or reality that is not time or position bound.
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