Side Event: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on "Ensuring sustainable development: Targeting inequalities experienced by children in the post 2015 framework"
(Statement as prepared for delivery:)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you all this evening to discuss the rights of children in the Post-2015 Framework. I am grateful that we could organize this side event together with our Brazilian friends with whom we have been working closely on many human rights related issues as well as with Plan and SOS Children’s Villages.
Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow’s UN. We can be sure that, in a couple of years or decades, when the international community will take stock of the achievements of this development framework, which we are discussing right now, those children of today will be at this table, seated where we are now. They will be the judges of our success or - hopefully not - failure.
It is therefore essential that the human rights of children are reflected and mainstreamed in all thematic areas of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The most important principles of children’s rights - non-discrimination, the best interest of the child, the right to life and health and participation have to be enshrined in this framework as guiding principles.
Gaps and challenges in the implementation of children’s rights remain.
Every third child today is not registered at birth. Without proper birth registration children - especially girls - are vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation, violence, trafficking and child labor. Birth registration is of course not a guarantee that those violations will not happen, but it is a precondition to the enjoyment of all human rights and a chance to enforce those rights. The international community has to face this challenge and ensure that the birth of every child, even in the most remote village, be registered, so that this child can claim its rights.
Another key factor to the development of children is education. Obviously, mothers play a key role in this regard. When a mother receives adequate education, the chances of her children surviving early childhood are much higher, as educated mothers will be more informed about health issues and know how to better take care of their child’s nutrition and health care. Furthermore, an educated mother is much more likely to enable her child to receive an education, which increases his or her chances to find work when growing up. Education will also help children to claim their human rights and to participate in society. Therefore, education is a crucial basis for successful and sustainable development.
Over the past decades, girls’ access to education has improved substantially. However, many girls are forced to drop out of school when they get married too early, have a child, have to help in the household or when there is simply not enough money for them to continue attending school. This can lead to a cycle of poverty.
One of the big deficits of the MDGs is that violence against women and children is not addressed. Every third girl and woman will experience violence in her life. Female genital mutilation, child marriage and resulting early pregnancy, sexual abuse, sexual assault at work: all these violation of a girl’s human rights will prevent her from having a self-determined life.
When boys experience violence they are much more likely to be violent as adults as well. It is our responsibility to make sure that children can live their lives free from violence and can strive to be adults who can make their own, informed choices about their lives, their health, their family, and their work.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Every child has human rights. It has the right to life, the right to education, the right to be heard, the right to participate and the right to health. Let’s give our children these opportunities so that one day they can stand where we stand today as the leaders of international policy. Let’s all work together on a just, equitable and inclusive Post-2015 Framework, which ensures that our children won’t have to craft yet another development agenda.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen."