'No matter the country we live in, we have to ensure that children grow up in a safe family environment. We need to protect girls and boys from all kind of violence and harmful practises and prevent child maltreatment.'
The King and the Queen of Belgium, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, who are on a week-long visit to India, on Friday played cricket with Mumbai children and cricketer Virender Sehwag to advocate for children's right to play and learn.
The royal couple and Sehwag played a a cricket match with boys and girls from two Mumbai schools at the Oval Maidan in Mumbai.
"No matter the country we live in, we have to ensure that children grow up in a safe family environment. We need to protect girls and boys from all kind of violence and harmful practises and prevent child maltreatment," a UNICEF release quoted the Queen as saying on the occasion.
"As a UN Special Advocate, I attach importance to the Right to Education for all children," she said.
"It is high time we empower our women and girls, and sports is a wonderful way of doing so," Sehwag said.
Sehwag also presented King Philippe with an autographed bat.
The Queen had a closed-door meeting with school children from Maharashtra who discussed personal safety, the importance of life skills and adolescent empowerment, especially the empowerment of girls and prevention of child marriage, the release said.
"Child marriage negatively influences children’s rights to education, health and protection. These consequences especially impact the girl directly, but also her family and community," she said.
The Queen also launched a song about hand-washing.
Coordinated by the University of Hasselt in collaboration with Belgian students and volunteers, the song will serve as a creative tool to generate awareness around the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission in India, the release said.