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Summary record of the 18th meeting : 3rd Committee, held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 19 October 2004, General Assembly, 59th session

UN Document Symbol A/C.3/59/SR.18
Convention Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Document Type Summary Record
Session 59th
Type Document

14 p.

Subjects Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice, Drug Control, Rights of The Child, Youth, Ageing Persons, Persons with Disabilities, Family

Extracted Text

United Nations
General Assembly
Fifty-ninth session
Official Records
Distr.: General
15 March 2005
Original: Spanish
Third Committee
Summary record of the 18th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 19 October 2004, at 3 p.m.
Chairman: Mr. Kuchinsky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Ukraine)
later: Ms. Astanah Banu (Vice-Chairman) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (Malaysia)
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly
Agenda item 94 (a): Social development, including questions relating to the world
social situation and to youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family (continued)
Agenda item 96: Crime prevention and criminal justice (continued)
Agenda item 97: International drug control (continued)
Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the rights of children (continued)
This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be sent under the signature of a member
of the delegation concerned within one week of the date of publication to the Chief of the
Official Records Editing Section, room DC2-750, 2 United Nations Plaza, and incorporated in a
copy of the record.
Corrections will be issued after the end of the session, in a separate corrigendum for each
04-56053 (E)
The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.
Agenda item 93: Implementation of the outcome of
the World Summit for Social Development and of the
twenty-fourth special session of the General
Assembly (continued) (A/C.3/59/L.16 and L.17)
Introduction of draft decision A/C.3/59/L.16: Outcome
of the ten-year review of the World Summit for Social
Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of
the General Assembly
1. Mr. Ndimeni (South Africa), speaking on behalf
of the Group of 77 and China, introduced the draft
decision, explaining that its main purpose was to
ensure that the Third Committee would pay attention to
the outcome of the 2005 session of the Commission for
Social Development. The ten-year review should not
be used to reopen the commitments made during the
Copenhagen Summit or the outcome of the twentyfourth
special session of the General Assembly, but
rather to adopt practical measures that would be
conducive to implementation.
Introduction of draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.17:
Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for
Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special
session of the General Assembly
2. Mr. Rehren (Chile), introducing the draft
resolution, said that its main purpose was to promote
implementation of the commitments made in the
Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and
the Programme of Action and further initiatives for
social development, as well as to reaffirm the
commitment of the international community to speed
up social development for all.
Agenda item 94 (a): Social development, including
questions relating to the world social situation and to
youth, ageing, disabled persons and the family
(continued) (A/C.3/59/L.18)
Introduction of draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.18: Policies
and programmes involving youth
3. Ms. Carvalho (Portugal) announced that Angola,
Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech
Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland,
France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy,
Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg,
Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and the
United Kingdom had joined the sponsors of the draft
resolution. The negotiations on the text should be
concluded soon. The sponsors hoped that it would be
adopted by consensus and with the widest support.
Agenda item 96: Crime prevention and criminal
justice (continued) (A/C.3/59/L.20 and L.22)
Introduction of draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.20:
International law enforcement assistance network for
combating the criminal misuse of information
4. Mr. Siv (United States of America) introducing
the draft resolution, said that it was aimed at expanding
the coverage of the Cybercrime Point of Contact
Network, which had been created to enhance
traditional methods of assistance in crimes involving
networked communications and related technologies.
Introduction of draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.22:
Strengthening the United Nations Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice Programme, in particular its technical
cooperation capacity
5. Mr. Cavallari (Italy) said that Argentina,
Belarus, Norway and Peru had joined the sponsors of
the draft resolution. He stressed the need to strengthen
the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal
Justice Programme, in keeping with the
recommendations set forth in the report of the
Secretary-General (A/59/205). The draft resolution was
intended to build upon and enhance the momentum of
the entry into force of the Palermo Convention and its
two Protocols and to ensure that the necessary
resources were provided so that the Programme could
respond to the new challenges and increasing demands
for technical assistance. Although the text was largely
based on the resolution adopted at the fifty-eighth
session, some changes had been made so as to make it
more effective and action-oriented. He hoped it would
be adopted by consensus, with the broadest support
Agenda item 97: International drug control
(continued) (A/C.3/59/L.19)
Introduction of draft resolution A/C.3/59/L.19:
International cooperation against the world drug
6. Ms. Feller (Mexico) said that Afghanistan,
Belarus, Brazil, Panama, Singapore, South Africa and
Tajikistan had joined the sponsors of the draft
resolution. The sponsors had tried to propose a
balanced text that would reflect the concerns of all
countries, groups and regions and include the new
challenges facing the international community as a
result of the ongoing changes in the phenomenon of
drug production, trafficking and abuse. Noting that
informal consultations were still underway with a
number of delegations, she said that she hoped the
draft resolution would be adopted without a vote.
Agenda item 101: Promotion and protection of the
rights of children (continued) (A/59/41 and Corr.1,
A/59/184-S/2004/602, A/59/190, A/59/274 and
7. Mr. Makanga (Gabon) said that since ratifying
the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1994, his
country had carried out a large number of initiatives on
behalf of children. His Government's determination to
protect children was evident in the fact that it had
recently enacted a law prohibiting trafficking in and
exploitation of children in the national territory and
was promoting bills on the creation of a children's
parliament and a national observatory for the
protection of the rights of the child.
8. In cooperation with the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/AIDS, the Government had
established a fund to help children orphaned by
HIV/AIDS, as well as other vulnerable children. It had
also participated in several regional meetings convened
for the purpose of developing policies on behalf of
such children.
9. Despite the progress made to date, children still
lived in precarious conditions in many regions of the
world, especially the developing countries, because of
poverty, armed conflict and diseases such as
HIV/AIDS. States and all those involved in promoting
and protecting the rights of children must take urgent
action to implement the commitments made under the
relevant international conventions. That was how the
rights of children must be protected, not just on paper.
10. Ms. Astanah Banu (Malaysia), Vice-Chairman,
took the Chair.
11. Ms. Hoch (Liechtenstein) said that, as noted in
the second national report of Liechtenstein on the
implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, in the last five years clear progress had been
made in the protection of children from sexual abuse
by making the necessary adjustments in domestic law
and setting up prevention and support mechanisms.
Criminal law had been tightened with respect to sexual
offences, the penalty for sexual abuse of minors had
been increased, and child pornography and abuse
abroad had been criminalized. The Liechtenstein
Parliament had adopted a revision of the Code of
Criminal Procedure which improved the protection of
victims in criminal proceedings and took their interests
better into account. Key points of the Victims’
Protection Act were sensitive questioning, once-only
testimony, and questioning by an expert. In 1999 an
interdisciplinary expert group had been founded which
served primarily as a contact point for professionals
who were confronted with cases of sexual abuse and
promoted relations and effective cooperation between
existing assistance systems. Her delegation wanted to
highlight the involvement of civil society and, in
particular, of children and young people in the current
revision of the Youth Act. The participation of young
people would also be firmly enshrined in the revised
Youth Act. At the same time, discussions on new forms
of participation were taking place, as a result of which
the Government had decided to delegate more young
people to international and European conferences.
12. As her delegation had pointed out on other
occasions, the discrepancy between existing norms and
standards and their implementation was sobering. The
Convention on the Rights of the Child enjoyed almost
universal support; yet Member States and the
international community had failed to live up to their
promise to protect and promote the most fundamental
right of the child, which was the right to life.
According to data published by the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), 30 000 children died every
day of preventable causes. Supply of basic life-saving
services and, in particular, adequate assistance to
pregnant women and to mothers and their newborn
children could save millions of lives.
13. The spread of armed conflict was another factor
increasing the number of child deaths. The Report of
the Secretary-General on the Comprehensive
assessment of the United Nations system response to
children affected by armed conflict (A/59/331) showed
that the United Nations system response was less then
satisfying and had many shortcomings. The
international community had to react and implement
the recommendations resulting from the assessment.
Above all, there had to be more institutional clarity
regarding the responsibilities of different actors
involved at United Nations Headquarters and in the
field. Her delegation agreed that it was beneficial to
have an independent advocate for children and armed
conflict. The advocacy efforts undertaken by the
special representative had helped to place the topic
high on the international agenda, but the mandate had
to be reformulated, giving a clearer indication of the
tasks to be fulfilled by the office.
14. Ms. Khalil (Egypt) said that her delegation
looked forward to the in-depth study on violence
against children that was being prepared by the
Secretary-General and hoped that it would cast light on
the problem and be helpful in developing programmes
and strategies to address it. Her delegation wished to
draw attention to the initiatives that had been
undertaken by Egypt in recent years to protect children
and, in particular, to suppress violence against
children. Article 29 of the Civil Code stated that
human personality began at birth; thus, from the
moment they were born, all children had the same
rights to well-being and protection as adults. The Civil
Code also defined the rights of human embryos. Law
12/1996, on childhood, outlined regulations to the law
applicable to minors, in line with the relevant
international instruments on the rights of the child.
15. The Egyptian National Council for Childhood
and Motherhood, the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) and other agencies had organized
the Afro-Arab Expert Consultation on Legal Tools for
the Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation, which
had met in Cairo in June 2003. At that meeting,
representatives of governments, intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations, and civil society
organizations had issued the Cairo Declaration for the
Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation, which
recommended the adoption of legal measures to
prohibit the practice. In 2003, in collaboration with the
National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and a
number of different stakeholders, the government had
put underway the national plan on genital mutilation,
with the aim of totally eliminating that practice. The
project, which was designed especially to protect those
segments of society in which genital mutilation was
more likely to be practiced, was being carried out in
the context of a comprehensive development plan
which took into account social and cultural
circumstances. In recent years, thanks to those
activities, the practice had been eliminated in 120
villages. Another joint project was focused on drafting
a major legislative text on the treatment of minors
under 18 in the judicial system. Egypt's efforts in
promoting and protecting the rights of the child were
being carried out in the context of a review of domestic
law to develop more detailed standards and include in
the reference texts provisions on the protection of
children who suffered violence.
16. With deep regret, her delegation found it
necessary once again to denounce the desperate and
increasingly serious situation of children in the
occupied Palestinian territory, an issue that was not
adequately covered in the reports submitted to the
Committee. According to a recent news article,
13 Palestinian children had died during the first few
days of Israeli army operations in Gaza. The data
available to Palestinian human rights organizations
showed a steady rise in the number of persons killed
and wounded. Clearly, an army that killed so many
children had no scruples nor did it understand human
values. Her delegation urged the Committee to take the
initiative in putting an end to military occupation
against the Palestinian people so as to ensure that
Palestinian children could fully enjoy their rights and
live in safety. That would not be possible unless there
was a full retreat from the occupied territories.
17. Mr. Cumberbatch (Cuba) said that well into the
twenty-first century, the world's children were still
suffering from disease, malnutrition, armed conflict,
trafficking in persons, child prostitution, physical and
sexual abuse, exploitation and uncertainty about the
future. There was every indication that the world
would not be able to achieve universal primary
education by 2015, given that according to UNICEF
data, one of every five school-age children was not
attending primary school. Nor would the world reduce
by two thirds the under-five mortality rate. Mortality
was only slightly lower – 82 per 1,000 live births –
than in 1998, when it had stood at 88; every year,
11 million children died from preventable or curable
diseases. The final solution to those calamities was to
change the unjust international order whereby all
production was concentrated in a few hands, and
everybody else was excluded from any opportunity for
improvement. A simple demonstration of political will
to set aside a tiny share of the money that was wasted
on wars and weapons would be enough to resolve the
inequity, given that it cost 64 times more to train a
soldier than to educate a school-age child.
18. Cuba welcomed the entry into force of the
Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, on the sale of children, child prostitution and
child pornography, and on the involvement of children
in armed conflict. Cuba had signed both protocols; it
had ratified the first one and was considering
ratification of the second, in line with its policy of
cooperation on human rights and its unwavering
commitment to the progress of children. The problems
facing the international community with regard to
children's issues were not confined to one particular
group of countries; consequently, the practice of
drawing up lists of countries did not contribute to the
common effort and only added an element of political
manipulation and aggression against third countries.
19. Cuba had made remarkable progress in the
provision of services for children in spite of the harsh
economic blockade to which it had been subjected for
over forty years, which only made it more difficult to
gain access to medication, technology and social
benefits. It was the height of nonsense and
manipulation that measures ostensibly designed to
bring democracy to the country should include an offer
to immunize all children under five who had not yet
been vaccinated against the main childhood diseases
under the current health system. The United States
authorities knew perfectly well that all Cuban children
were vaccinated against 11 diseases before their second
birthday – something that the United States itself did
not do. Moreover, 100 per cent of Cuba's children had
access to full health services, and the infant mortality
rate had been reduced to six per 1,000 live births. The
ratio of classroom teachers to children in primary
schools was one teacher for 20 students, and
classrooms of more than 20 students had two teachers.
New art, theatre, dance and music schools had been
opened in all the major cities. Special education
programmes ensured that all children with disabilities
who were able to study were taken care of. In 2003, in
recognition of Cuba's longstanding efforts in the field
of education, the country had been granted an
Honourable Mention in the King Sejong Literacy Prize
granted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Cuba was also
cooperating effectively with UNICEF, which
guaranteed ongoing and coordinated actions through
programmes and projects carried out throughout the
20. Mr. Hackett (Barbados), speaking on behalf of
the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the
future survival of mankind depended to a large extent
on how policies to safeguard and nurture children were
enacted and implemented. The Millennium
Development Goals and the declaration emanating
from the United Nations special session on children,
held in 2002, placed heavy emphasis on ensuring the
health, education and security of children through
time-bound, action-oriented goals and targets. The
United Nations had set a target date for reducing
poverty, which particularly affected children, but
present world trends cast doubt on the ability of
countries to meet that target. It was also unlikely that
they would meet the goal of achieving
universal primary education by 2015, one of the
Millennium Development Goals pertaining to
children. The member States of CARICOM called for a
re-commitment to the implementation of the Monterrey
Consensus and the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation, particularly their targets for domestic
and international resource mobilization and investment
in basic social and economic infrastructure, health,
nutrition and education, which paid special attention to
children. Developing countries needed concrete action
and support to make those targets a reality. Nationally,
it required universal access to social services and the
commitment of all countries to the full implementation
of the 20/20 Initiative called for at the World Summit
for Social Development in 1995. Internationally, it
required greater cooperation and assistance from the
developed world for debt relief and reviving the Doha
Development Agenda negotiations.
21. The small island developing States and low-lying
coastal States, including those belonging to the
Caribbean Community, experienced specific problems
that particularly affected the most vulnerable persons
in a society, the poor and children. It was therefore
critical that the international community should
continue to recognize the special circumstances of
those States and pay heed to their calls for special
assistance. On the question of priorities in the world,
he stressed that in the view of CARICOM, although
security seemed to be considered more important than
other problems facing mankind, a multidimensional
approach must be undertaken that did not undermine
efforts to achieve social and economic development.
22. In recent years, CARICOM had repeatedly
stressed the need for urgent action in tackling the
HIV/AIDS problem. The Caribbean region had a high
rate of infection with that disease, which was
devastating populations and orphaning thousands of
children; in particular, there was a high level of
mother-to-child transmission. For the CARICOM
States, whose people were their greatest resource, the
spectre of HIV/AIDS destroying its children and youth
was daunting. The Caribbean Community wished to
reiterate the pressing need internationally to devote
more funds and attention to the issue. Governments in
the region were striving to continue allocating
additional financial resources to fighting AIDS, and
they had national programmes to reduce the rates of
mother-to-child transmission. Public education
programmes had been started with the aid of UNICEF,
governmental policies and NGO initiatives.
23. The Caribbean Community believed that
education was the weapon for combating HIV/AIDS
and other problems affecting children, such as the
traffic in children. Education was not only a
fundamental right, but also an investment and a tool for
economic and social development. Throughout the
region, both boys and girls were entitled to free
primary and secondary education, and in the majority
of cases, school attendance was mandatory between the
ages of 5 and 16. Article 28 of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which spoke explicitly of the
responsibility of States to make education accessible to
all children, had been given special attention by the
countries of the region.
24. Mr. Samet (Algeria) said that, in the view of his
delegation, making the world fit for children would
constitute a significant contribution towards attaining
the Millennium Development Goals. The Declaration
and Plan of Action adopted at the special session on
children should be implemented in the context of
coordinated follow-up to the agendas of other major
international conferences and summits. In his
discussion of progress in the four major goal areas of
the Declaration and Plan of Action (A/59/274) –
promoting healthy lives; providing quality education;
protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence; and
combating HIV/AIDS –, the Secretary-General had
acknowledged that although there had been some
success, especially in terms of the implementation
nationally and regionally of action plans on behalf of
children, much remained to be done.
25. Indeed, in many respects, children were still in a
precarious and even distressing situation in several
parts of the world, especially Africa. If the millions of
children who still lived in subhuman conditions were
to live in dignity, their economic and social rights must
be taken into account, and they must be able to enjoy
the right to development. It bore repeating that human
rights also entailed access to education, health care,
food, drinking water and proper housing. It was also
important, however, to prevent warring factions from
harming children and to put an end to the shameful
practice of enlisting child soldiers. Drastic measures
must be taken against the exploitation of children,
especially sexual exploitation. His delegation wanted
to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-
General for Children and Armed Conflict for the
significant contribution he had made to publicizing the
problems of children affected by armed conflict,
including children living under foreign occupation,
especially in Palestine and the occupied Arab
26. Algeria had allocated substantial resources and
had make tremendous efforts to promote the
fundamental rights of children through comprehensive
and well-coordinated intersectoral action plans
designed to reduce child mortality, improve child
nutrition, promote universal access to primary
education and provide assistance to children living in
difficult circumstances. With regard to the fulfilment of
its obligations, he said that Algeria had ratified the
Convention on the Rights of the Child. His
Government had duly submitted its initial report to the
Committee on the Rights of the Child and would be
submitting its next one in 2005. It had completed the
Secretary-General's questionnaire on violence against
children. In conclusion, he stressed that Algeria, which
had played an active role in the process leading up to
the United Nations special session on children, would
spare no effort to implement the Declaration and Plan
of Action adopted at that session.
27. Ms. Pham Thi Kim Anh (Viet Nam) said that
her delegation aligned itself with the statement made
by the delegation of Malaysia on behalf of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The
continuous attention focused on the rights of the child
since the World Summit on Children had been
heightened with the adoption of the document entitled
"A World Fit for Children" at the twenty-seventh
special session of the General Assembly on children.
The special session had identified the areas in which
efforts should be focused by the international
community to ensure better protection of the rights of
children and their development, and it had given new
impetus to national and international initiatives in
favour of children.
28. Viet Nam had always given priority to the
implementation of the rights of children and was
earnestly carrying out its international commitments.
To date, Viet Nam had made significant progress
towards realizing its goals, as noted in the mid-term
review for the 2004 regular session of UNICEF, which
stated that Viet Nam enjoyed relative equality in health
and education. Indeed, 100 per cent of the provinces
and cities of Viet Nam were providing primary
education, illiteracy had been wiped out, 95 per cent of
children were enrolled in primary school at the right
age, the mortality rate in children under five had been
reduced to 42 per 1,000 live births, 93.3 per cent of
children under one year old had been vaccinated with
six vaccines, polio had been eradicated, and 70 per cent
of orphaned children had been given care by the
29. Turning to the issue of children and armed
conflict, she said that her delegation was concerned
about the serious situation of children in many parts of
the world. Children were the primary victims of armed
conflicts, in which many were killed, orphaned and
abducted, or deprived of education, health care and
other fundamental rights. Furthermore, children were
the ones who suffered most in post-conflict situations.
Her delegation therefore welcomed the decision to
establish a monitoring, reporting and compliance
mechanism for children affected by armed conflict, and
would like to express its support for the important
work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-
General for Children and Armed Conflict.
30. Viet Nam was strongly committed to promote,
protect and care for children and had made efforts in
that regard. However, owing to the country's low level
of economic development, there were still major
impediments to the realization and promotion of the
rights of children, such as trafficking and commercial
sexual exploitation of children, and HIV/AIDS, a
disease that affected more than 250,000 children. With
the valuable support of UNICEF and other
international partners, the Government of Viet Nam
was doing its utmost to solve those problems by
carrying out rights-based programmes, giving priority
to the protection of particularly vulnerable children and
setting up a juvenile justice system.
31. Ms. Helal (Canada), speaking on behalf also of
Australia and New Zealand, said that the three
countries placed the highest priority on promoting and
protecting the rights of the child. The Convention on
the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols were
fundamental to the realization of those rights. It was
not enough to carry out targeted actions, but it was also
important to mainstream child rights within all
activities, at both the international and national levels,
and incorporate a gender perspective in all programmes
and policies related to children, without neglecting
children belonging to disadvantaged groups.
32. Priority must be given to reaffirming and
advancing the rights of the child in debate at the United
Nations in the framework of the omnibus resolution.
However, Australia, Canada and New Zealand were
concerned that the length and detail of the resolution
was not conducive to advancing the rights of the child;
its size limited consideration of new and critical issues.
It should be thoroughly reviewed and streamlined in
order to focus on urgent and central issues.
33. The Committee on the Rights of the Child played
a key role in promoting more effective implementation
of the Convention. Australia, Canada and New Zealand
welcomed the efforts of the Committee to make its
work more effective, including the discussion it had
organized recently on implementing child rights in
early childhood. They also welcomed the increase in
the Committee's membership, allowing for more
geographical representation as well as expertise. That
would enable the Committee to take up its new tasks in
monitoring the implementation of the Optional
Protocols to the Convention.
34. Australia, Canada and New Zealand called on
States Parties to fully cooperate with the Committee,
including by honouring their reporting obligations.
They supported efforts to strengthen monitoring,
reporting and accountability for violations of children's
rights in armed conflicts and to address the specific
needs of the girl child. They encouraged close
coordination with existing initiatives, such as those
related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict.
They supported the work of United Nations agencies,
including the Special Representative of the Secretary-
General on Children and Armed Conflict and his
Office, and of non-governmental organizations. Efforts
of all key stakeholders remained essential to combating
violations of children's rights and ensuring adherence
to relevant international law.
35. The newly released report of the Secretary-
General on the comprehensive assessment of the
United Nations system response to children affected by
armed conflict would provide important guidance on
how to address child protection in situations of armed
conflict in a sustainable and coordinated way.
Stressing the importance of Security Council resolution
1539 (2004), she said that Australia, Canada and New
Zealand encouraged Member States that had not done
so to ratify without delay the Optional Protocol on the
involvement of children in armed conflict and the
Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,
which contained crucial provisions criminalizing
serious acts against children.
36. Australia, Canada and New Zealand continued to
be deeply concerned at the continuing sexual
exploitation of children, including trafficking,
prostitution, pornography and sexual abuse, and wished
to express their support for the work of the Special
Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution
and child pornography. Measures at the international,
regional and national levels to combat such crimes,
prosecute the perpetrators and protect the rights of the
victims were critical.
37. Violence against children was a complex problem
demanding an urgent response. Australia, Canada and
New Zealand fully supported the work of the
independent expert, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, in
conducting an in-depth study of the issue. They trusted
that the recommendations of the study would include
effective remedies and both preventive and
rehabilitative measures at the national and international
38. Australia, Canada and New Zealand were taking
concrete steps to implement the agenda set forth in the
document "A World Fit for Children". In early 2004,
Canada had completed its plan of action as follow-up
to the United Nations special session on children,
entitled "A Canada Fit for Children". The plan was a
result of consultations involving stakeholder groups
from all of Canada's geographic areas, governments,
aboriginal organizations and children and youth. Other
domestic priorities for Canada included the
Multilateral Framework on Early Learning and Child
Care, under which governments were working to
improve access to affordable, quality, regulated early
learning and child care programmes and services.
Canada was taking steps to fight child poverty and
promote early development through the National Child
Benefit and the Early Childhood Development
Agreement. A number of legislative and law
enforcement initiatives had been undertaken to protect
children from exploitation, and preparations were
underway to hold a North American consultation in
2005 on the United Nations study on violence against
children which would include the active participation
of children and youth, both in the preparatory process
and at the consultation.
39. While New Zealand was doing well by
international standards on the rights of the child, the
United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
had identified areas where improvement could be made
in 2003. In response, New Zealand had developed the
Convention on the Rights of the Child work
programme, and in 2004 had released an
updated work programme spanning five years of
activity (2004–2008). It addressed 50 issues in direct
response to the Committee's 2003 recommendations on
the Convention and on the Optional Protocol on child
soldiers. Within that framework, New Zealand was
actively progressing towards the lifting of reservations
to the Convention. In addition, New Zealand had just
submitted its response to the request for information
for the study on violence against children.
40. Australia was currently finalizing its National
Plan of Action for Children and Young People in
response to "A World Fit for Children", in consultation
with children and young people, governments and the
non-governmental sector. It was also working towards
increased coordination of policies and services for
children and their families, with a particular focus on
prevention and early intervention approaches. To that
end, Australia was developing a National Agenda for
Early Childhood to maximize the impact of existing
activity and inform future investments to ensure
resources were directed to priority issues. Four broad
action areas had been proposed for national attention:
healthy young families, early learning and care,
supporting parents and families, and child-friendly
communities. Australia, New Zealand and Canada
continued to cooperate with other countries through
their respective regional organizations on the important
issues of smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons
and related transnational crime, including the issue of
trafficking of children and child sex tourism. Although
the challenges were daunting, the three countries
wished to reiterate their commitment to working with
other Member States and the United Nations system in
finding the most effective ways to enhance the rights of
all children.
41. Dr. Kyaw Win (Myanmar) said that the
delegation of Myanmar wished to align itself with the
statement made by the representative of Malaysia on
behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN). Quoting the words of the representative of
Myanmar at the thirty-sixth session of the Committee
on the Rights of the Child, he said that children
enjoyed a special place in Myanmar and were regarded
as "jewels" of society. Because of the extended family
pattern which was predominant among Myanmar
families, children were nurtured not only by their
parents, grandparents and relatives but also by their
respective communities. For that reason, the Union of
Myanmar had readily acceded to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child in 1991. It had promulgated the
Child Law in 1993 and was implementing it with a
firm intention to promote and protect the rights of
children in the country.
42. When Madame Sadako Ogata had first visited
Myanmar as an independent expert for the United
Nations in 1989, she had written clearly that what she
had seen in Myanmar was in some ways "a model
society". The official recognition of Myanmar's efforts
had come about on 4 June 2004, when the United
Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in its
report had acknowledged many positive developments,
including the creation of the National Human Rights
Committee in 2000; the adoption of rules and
regulations related to the Child Law in 2001; the
creation of the Myanmar Women's Affairs Federation
in 2003, whose mandate included promotion and
protection of the rights of the child; the establishment
of the National AIDS Programme and the joint
programme for HIV/AIDS Myanmar 2001–2005; the
National Health Plan 1996–2001, which had achieved
high immunization coverage for a significant part of
the population; the Education for All national action
plans; and the Joint Plan of Action for the elimination
of forced labour with the International Labour
Organization (ILO). Myanmar thanked the Committee
for acknowledging those advances amidst various
preposterous allegations circulated by expatriate
dissidents and splinter groups of former insurgent
organizations that remained out in the cold for various
reasons. Now that their military campaigns against the
Union were no longer significant without the foot
soldiers who had gone home to be peacefully resettled
in their own States, the main strategy of those groups
had been to turn to a war of propaganda utilizing the
ample amounts of funds available to them under the
umbrella of politically motivated non-governmental
43. Myanmar was clearly no longer a country in
armed conflict, and it was turning a blind eye to reality
to include Myanmar on the list of countries in such a
situation. However, the Government was taking no
chances and had formed a high-level Committee for the
Prevention of the Recruitment of Child Soldiers on
5 January 2004 and had recently allowed the Resident
Representative of UNICEF in Myanmar to observe
first-hand the recruitment process of the all-volunteer
Myanmar Armed Forces.
44. Myanmar regretted that the European Union had
imposed diplomatic and economic sanctions on
Myanmar that were not compatible with the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, which had been
ratified by the European Union and by Myanmar.
Article 2.2 of the Convention clearly stated that States
Parties should take all appropriate measures to ensure
that the child was protected against all forms of
discrimination or punishment on the basis of the status,
activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the child's
parents, legal guardians or family members. However,
the list of names in the current visa bans on senior
officers of the Myanmar Government included not only
children but also a few grandchildren, some not yet of
school age. It was an irony that the European Union, as
an advocate of human rights, should be violating one
of its own most important conventions.
45. Although it was true that nothing could be done
overnight, Myanmar had given an inexorable
momentum to its efforts to promote and protect the
rights of its children. The recent introduction of human
rights education into the curricula of basic education
for middle schools and high schools was a testament to
Myanmar's ambition that those children should grow
up in a world where there was universal respect for
human rights, in keeping with Myanmar's longstanding
tradition and culture.
46. Ms. Abeysekera (Sri Lanka) said that Sri Lanka's
position with regard to children had been in line with
the Convention on the Rights of the Child even before
it had been ratified. The general situation of children in
the country had improved, including through free
education and health care and subsidized food.
Building on that foundation, Sri Lanka's incorporation
of the Millennium Development Goals into its
development strategy would help to create the
environment necessary for further implementation of
the Convention. Among other things, Sri Lanka had
made education compulsory from ages 5 to 14, and it
had carried out extensive skills training programmes,
conducted immunization programmes in schools and
clinics, and raised the minimum employment age to 14,
thus bringing child labour rates down from 8 per cent
in 1996 to 0.7 per cent in 2002.
47. Sri Lanka was a party to all the ILO conventions
on child labour and their protocols, and the Penal Code
had provisions against child abuse and cruelty to
children and trafficking. The National Child Protection
Authority was the main agency responsible for
conducting investigations and enforcing the relevant
laws, organizing training and awareness programmes,
enforcing regulations and collaborating with UNICEF.
A number of non-governmental organizations were also
involved in protecting children's rights, and the media
had broadcast awareness campaigns among the public.
48. The efforts of the Government and civil society
of Sri Lanka to improve the situation of children in the
country were faced with the recurring problem of the
recruitment of child soldiers by the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Despite all the promises and
peace talks, and the fact that LTTE had signed with the
Government of Sri Lanka the Action Plan for children
affected by war, UNICEF and other organizations,
including the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child
Soldiers, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International, had reported that the situation had not
improved. Her delegation strongly felt that the
international community should pressure organizations
such as LTTE to stop that practice.
49. In keeping with the Convention on the Rights of
the Child and the Declaration and the Plan of Action
of "A World Fit for Children", the Government of
Sri Lanka had launched a National Plan of Action for
the Children of Sri Lanka 2004–2008. With the help of
UNICEF, Save the Children and a leading Sri Lankan
non-governmental organization, it had obtained the
participation and inputs of children between the ages of
4 and 18, including those with disabilities and street
children, in determining the content of the Plan. The
main objective of the Plan was to create opportunities
for Sri Lanka's children in an environment that was
safe and conducive to their overall development and to
integrate interventions on behalf of children into the
country's broader policies, while ensuring their
consistency with Sri Lanka's cultural values, human
rights and fundamental freedoms. The Plan covered
action in regard to child development, education,
health care, water supply, child protection, child labour
and juvenile justice, and recognized that children
needed to grow up in a family environment in an
atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. The
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had
congratulated the Government of Sri Lanka for the
Plan and had pledged support for it.
50. Mr. Sin Song Chol (Democratic People's
Republic of Korea) said that his delegation had taken
note of the reports of the Secretary-General on the
Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(A/59/190) and on Follow-up to the United Nations
special session on children (A/59/274). He commended
the efforts of the international organizations, including
UNICEF, in the protection and promotion of children's
rights and welfare. He welcomed the proposal of the
Committee on the Rights of the Child to consider the
reports of States parties in two parallel chambers, in
order to improve its working methods.
51. His delegation considered it most important to
draw up clear policies to put into practice once and for
all the commitments undertaken in the Convention on
the Rights of the Child, the special session of the
General Assembly on children and other major
international conferences and set up the necessary
institutional mechanisms for the protection and
promotion of the rights of the child. Each country
should pursue a child policy suitable to its specific
situation and requirements, while keeping its
international commitments.
52. It was always the vulnerable groups, in particular
children, who were most affected by economic
sanctions and blockades arising from interference in
the domestic affairs of a country, as well as military
occupation, armed conflict, racism and xenophobia.
The child issue must not be abused for political
purposes. International cooperation and solidarity were
crucial, and international organizations, including
UNICEF, should assume greater responsibility by
joining in the efforts of governments to protect and
promote children's rights.
53. The Government of the People's Democratic
Republic of Korea gave high priority to children and
had enacted laws on education and child rearing which
incorporated the rights enshrined in the Convention on
the Rights of the Child. Despite the natural disasters
the country had suffered in recent years and the
economic sanctions and blockades it had been suffering
for more than half a century, the Government provided
free education and health care to all children. It had
and would continue to take measures to improve their
situation, in keeping with the objectives of the
document "A World Fit for Children". The Committee
on the Rights of the Child had considered the second
report of the Government in June 2004.
54. Dr. Tan Kee Kwong (Malaysia), speaking on
behalf of the Member States of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that ASEAN
priorities for children had been placed on the regional
agenda as an outcome of the Third Meeting of ASEAN
Ministers Responsible for Social Welfare held in 1993.
Subsequently, the main instruments adopted in that
respect had been the Hanoi Plan of Action, adopted in
1998, the first in a series of plans of action to
implement ASEAN Vision 20/20; the Declaration of
Commitments on Children, in 2001; and the
Declaration of ASEAN Concord II (Bali II). All of
those instruments addressed children's concerns,
particularly their survival, protection and development;
combating trafficking in, and crimes of violence
against, women and children; full implementation of
the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which all
ASEAN countries were parties; promoting a gentler,
safer and more caring environment for children
through strengthening families; seeking the active
involvement of all sectors of society in economic
development; and including children's issues and
concerns in regional integration processes. The
Association of Southeast Asian Nations was currently
preparing the Vientiane Action Programme as the
successor plan to the Hanoi Plan of Action. It was
expected that the Plan would be adopted by the
ASEAN Heads of State or Government at the Tenth
Summit, to be held in Lao People's Democratic
Republic on 29 November 2004.
55. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations had
been working with UNICEF to address priorities
identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
the Declaration of Commitments on Children and the
document "A World Fit for Children". It had submitted
to UNICEF a proposal to develop a multidisciplinary
framework for child abuse and child neglect. The
United Nations Children's Fund was providing
technical assistance for the ASEAN project on early
childhood care and development and was organizing
regular East Asia and Pacific ministerial consultations
to assess progress achieved in the area in meeting the
goals set by the World Summit on Children.
56. Ms. Asmady (Indonesia) said the document
"A World Fit for Children" had set a basis for the
Government to advance children's rights in the national
development programme. In commemoration of
National Children's Day, the Government had launched
the National Programme for Children in Indonesia
2015, which covered the key issues of child health and
nutrition, HIV/AIDS, early childhood care and
development, basic education and protection against
abuse. With regard to protection, she said that
following the enactment of the Child Protection Act in
2002, a National Committee on Child Protection had
been established to ensure implementation of the Act.
Three national action plans were currently underway to
fight the worst forms of child labour, commercial
sexual exploitation of children and trafficking in
women and children. At the regional level, the
Government of Indonesia, working closely with the
International Organization for Migration and with the
participation of ASEAN and Australia, had supported a
number of joint measures to combat the sexual
exploitation of children in the region.
57. On health issues, she said that efforts were being
made to reduce maternal and infant mortality and
malnutrition, combat HIV/AIDS, encourage
vaccination and immunization and provide basic health
care in all districts. Under education, Indonesia's Law
No. 20/2003, on the national education system,
underlined the importance of education for all in the
overall development programme of the country and
stipulated the considerable budget allocations that had
to be made to support the nine-year compulsory
education programme and provide financial support for
low-income families to send their children to school.
Finally, the Government was considering the
recommendations and observations made by the
Committee on the Rights of the Child on the second
periodic report of Indonesia, with a view to integrating
them into national strategies.
58. Ms. Assoumou (Côte d'Ivoire) said that poverty,
malnutrition, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, discrimination
in all its forms, armed conflict and terrorism had
become daily occurrences in the lives of children. Her
delegation wished to pay tribute to the memory of the
school children of Beslan and all innocent victims of
conflicts. According to UNICEF statistics, every year
11 million children died before their fifth birthday
because of the lack of basic services. To deal with the
deterioration of health care and rising infant and
maternal morbidity and mortality rates, the
Government of Côte d'Ivoire had put underway, in
collaboration with UNICEF and with financing from
the European Union, a 15-month project aimed at
strengthening the capacity of health services in the
districts most affected by the crisis by supplying
equipment, medical supplies, vaccines and basic
medicines; setting up dispensaries to provide prenatal
care and birthing facilities; and distributing insecticideimpregnated
mosquito nets. Polio vaccinations would
be given as part of the 2004 measles vaccination
campaign, in order to combat the new outbreak of that
disease in the northern part of the country. The
campaign, which was directed at children between 9
months and 14 years old, would soon be extended
throughout the national territory.
59. The Government of Côte d'Ivoire had adopted a
number of institutional and legal measures to combat
child abductions and trafficking and exploitation of
children. It had taken steps, inter alia, to provide the
protection established in the Constitution for
vulnerable groups and enforce the prohibition against
the worst forms of child labour, as well as several
provisions of the Penal Code against abduction of
children and a bill on trafficking in children. At the
regional and international levels, Côte d'Ivoire had
ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child and
International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions
138 and 182, concerning Minimum Age for Admission
to Employment and the Prohibition and Immediate
Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child
Labour. It had also begun the process of ratification of
the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights
of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution
and child pornography, and on the involvement of
children in armed conflict. In addition, it had ratified
the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the
Child and had taken part in several meetings, including
those held in Cotonou in 1998 and in Libreville and
Lomé in February and May 2000, at which platforms of
action had been adopted to combat cross-border
trafficking of children. In September 2000, the
Government had signed a bilateral cooperation
agreement with Mali concerning the fight against child
trafficking, and in August 2003, it had signed a
cooperation agreement with the International Labour
Office which had led to the creation of the Steering
Committee which was responsible for coordinating
efforts to combat child labour and providing follow-up
on the International Programme on the Elimination of
Child Labour.
60. The use of child soldiers was a new form of child
labour that turned children into both actors and victims
of wars and armed conflict. In recent years, such
conflicts had cut off the lives of two million children
and left another four million mutilated; one million
children had been orphaned, and another 10 million
were suffering the consequences of abduction,
detention and death of their parents. It was therefore
urgent to find a solution to that problem and reunite
children with their families and society, so that they
could once again laugh, play and enjoy their childhood.
61. Ms. Kusorgbor (Ghana) said that considering the
disheartening situation of the world's children, as
described by the Secretary-General in his second report
on Follow-up to the United Nations special session on
children, international cooperation must be increased,
and resources must be pooled to implement the
principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, the Millennium Development Goals and the
Declaration on "A World Fit for Children", in order to
protect and promote the rights and the well-being of
children. In that connection, Ghana welcomed the
increasing role of regional mechanisms and the various
collaborative efforts between countries and regional
and international organizations in assessing regional
challenges and defining appropriate regional responses.
The collaboration between the African Union, the
Economic Commission for Africa, the Secretariat of
the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) and UNICEF had culminated in the
publication of The Young Face of NEPAD, which
elaborated on how the NEPAD initiatives could
complement the goals of a World Fit for Children and
the Millennium Development Goals. It was also
gratifying that a similar collaboration had resulted in
the first monitoring report on the state of Africa's
children and the establishment of a database on childrelated
indicators for Africa.
62. The Government of Ghana had undertaken
several initiatives to improve the social and economic
well-being of children, in fulfilment of its
commitments under the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, which it had ratified in 1990. Several laws
had been reformed to ensure the effective
implementation of the fundamental human rights of
children provided for in the Convention, the Children's
Act had been promulgated in 1998, and a juvenile
justice bill had been adopted. To ensure the effective
integration of children's rights into national
development policies, the lead governmental agencies
in those matters (the Ghana National Commission on
Children and the National Council for Women and
Development) had been strengthened, an advocacy
campaign had been initiated to sensitize the public
about the need to counteract child trafficking and child
migration, and capacity-building strategies had been
implemented to financially empower women through
the Women's Development Fund. In addition to its
efforts to expand access to basic education and
improve the quality of education, the Government was
paying attention to the development of skills and
strengthening collaboration with non-governmental
organizations that worked to promote the cause of
63. The plight of thousands of children in conflict
situations around the world should spur the
international community to take concrete steps to
alleviate their suffering. While Ghana recognized the
commendable role of the Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict in
addressing the issue, it wished to stress the need to
comprehensively integrate the issue into the work of
the relevant United Nations agencies and improve the
level of coordination in the overall United Nations
64. Mr. Tekle (Eritrea) said that every human society
was committed to its children and considered the
satisfaction of their emotional, spiritual, moral and
material needs as a cardinal duty and its highest social
priority. Yet it was ironic that children had been the
principal victims of the most egregious violations of
human rights, including loss of identity and
citizenship, child labour and military conscription,
sexual exploitation, abduction, sale and slavery, genital
mutilation and forced early marriage, as well as
exposure to health hazards. There was a causal
relationship between the violation of the human rights
of children and poverty. The absence of adequate
education and employment opportunities had made
conscription to the regular military or other armed
groups attractive, and human trafficking, debt bondage
and other illicit activities possible.
65. During the liberation struggle, the motto of the
Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) had been
"Everything good for the children", and it had been
practiced rigorously even during the grimmest years of
extreme hardship and shortage. After independence,
Eritrea had signed and ratified the Convention on the
Rights of the Child almost immediately. Ever since,
Eritrea's children and youth had been given priority in
all the basic laws of the country, including the National
Charter (1994), the macroeconomic policy (1996) and
the Constitution (1997). The national policy and
subsequent guidelines had ensured the translation of
the provisions of those basic laws into reality.
66. Eritreans believed that a healthy and educated
child guaranteed the future of the nation. To that end,
the Government had embarked upon a preventive
health care programme for children which was devised
to protect from the most prevalent diseases that
afflicted children in developing countries, including
malaria, polio and tuberculosis. It was giving special
attention to the prevention of the transmission of
HIV/AIDS from mother to child and provided care for
orphans victimized by the scourge. The Government
was also committed to the realization of the
Millennium Development Goals on child mortality and
had institutionalized a credible immunization system.
67. The educational and health programmes of the
Front during the years of struggle had been recognized
as remarkable achievements which could be exemplary
even for conflict-free countries. The commitment to
education was only a continuation of that noble
tradition. The Government was determined to provide
equal educational opportunities in the periphery and in
the capital and hoped that the day would soon come
that children would be able to attend school in their
own villages. To that end, the Government had made a
detailed review of the educational system to enhance
its accessibility and effectiveness.
68. The commitment of the Eritrean Government to
the promotion and protection of the rights of children
was also reflected in the firm position it had taken on
the issue of violence against them. That commitment
was reflected in numerous legal provisions that had
been enacted since independence and the advocacy and
awareness programmes that had been put in place by
organizations like the National Union of Eritrean
Women. Eritrea therefore welcomed the launching of
the Secretary-General's study on violence against
children as a positive development.
69. The cruel victimization of children by armed
conflict, whether internal or external, was of special
significance to Eritreans, who had suffered for more
than 30 years because of the horrific destruction
wrought on their country by enemy armies. Those
armies had been armed by external powers, both
eastern and western, with the most sophisticated and
lethal weapons of destruction, some of which were
outlawed by international humanitarian law. At present,
those who had survived cluster bombs, napalm and
nerve gas were being killed by landmines and
unexploded ordnance. In addition, Eritrean children
had, during the last aggression, been abducted by
enemy soldiers and reportedly used as human
minesweepers and human shields, and they had been
forced to perform slave labour, while girls as young as
12 years old had been raped.
70. It was reported that over 20 million Africans,
many of whom were children, had been killed by small
arms and light weapons. The sale and trafficking of
children, child labour, commercial sexual exploitation,
child pornography and other illicit activities had
assumed frightening proportions. It was reported by
ILO that 240 million children still worked, 180 million
were intolerably exploited, 8.4 million were trapped
in human trafficking, and 22,000 children had
died from work-related accidents. Poverty and
underdevelopment, as well as the socioeconomic gap
between the rich and poor countries, which was
steadily increasing, were the primary causes for that
situation, especially in the age of globalization. In that
connection, Eritrea recognized with appreciation the
good work being done by ILO and UNICEF, as well as
other international organizations, in the effort to
eliminate the violation of the rights of the child,
particularly through awareness-raising and advocacy
The meeting rose at 5.50 p.m.