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Joint Nordic Statement on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child

Joint Nordic Statement by Iceland’s Minister for Social Affairs and Children, H.E. Ásmundur Einar Daðason

General Assembly 74th session, 20 November 2019

Mr / Madame President,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic countries – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland.

Today, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – An unprecedented promise of nations to the children of the world.

There has been significant progress since the adoption of the Convention in 1989. It has galvanized change and progress for children around the world.

Important steps have been taken towards increased equality and children’s rights. More children are attending school and getting education, which provides the best safeguard against exclusion and lack of prospects. As seen with the recent school strikes for the climate around the world, children are also taking a lead and having a say in matters that affect their lives and future.

Mr. / Madame President,

We will continue to ensure that the principles of the convention are being implemented and that the human rights of children are being promoted and protected. It is central for sustainable development and implementing the 2030 Agenda. The Nordic countries stress the crucial role of UNICEF and the UN in promoting the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

But there is work still to be done. We must all commit further to make sure that we leave no child behind. Particular attention must be paid to those children in the most vulnerable positions.

Mr. / Madame President,

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human rights instrument globally. In fact, one member of the Nordic family, Sweden, was one of the first countries to ratify the Convention. The Nordic countries are proud to have made the general principles, rights and obligations of the Convention a part of our legislations.

The principles of the Convention need to become a reality for all children, in various situations and needs. The best interests of children must always be our focus when we are deciding matters that concern them. The aim of the Nordic countries is that all children, in all their diversity, shall have a safe and secure childhood.

Mr. / Madame President,

The Convention of the Rights of the Child is the first international human rights instrument to address the protection of children from violence. The Nordic countries have emphasized the crucial importance to have the right services and responses in place when children are believed to be victims of sexual violence or other serious violence. In all Nordic countries the Barnahus model, or Children’s House, has been implemented, where children can receive all the services they need in one place.

Mr. / Madame President,

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the convention, the Nordic Council of Ministers has decided to enhance its focus on children’s rights. Our aim is to make the Nordic region the best place for children to grow up in.

Children have a right to be heard and earlier today I enjoyed the role of being a keynote listener instead of keynote speaker. Children need to be listened to and involved in decisions that affect them.

In January, children from the Nordic countries will gather in Copenhagen to discuss children’s rights focusing on their participation and involvement. The Nordic Children’s Forum will bring children together with relevant governmental actors from all over the region, and further develop Nordic co-operation on children’s rights.

Mr. / Madame President,

We cannot afford to be complacent. We need to strengthen our efforts to ensure that all children are safe, healthy and able to reach out for their dreams.

I thank you.

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