Statement by Helen S. von Ernst,
General Assembly 74th session, 10 October 2019
Third Committee -
Item 66: Promotion and protection of the rights of children
Mr. / Madam Chair,
This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of a landmark achievement. The Convention on the Rights of the Child was an unprecedented promise of nations to the children of the world. We pledged not only to proclaim children’s rights but to uphold them and be accountable for them.
The CRC is a global instrument that has galvanized change around the world. Since the adoption of the Convention, we have seen immense improvements in the life of children globally – but there is work still to be done.
Mr. / Madame Chair
The current Icelandic government puts a special emphasis on children’s affairs. As a result, the Ministry for Social Affairs and Children recently initiated work on a future policy for advancing children’s issues within Icelandic society. Among other things, the Government aims to review the Child Protection Act, the social framework for children‘s affairs, and services for children countrywide. One of the main goals is to place the child and its family at the centre of all services. The work is coordinated jointly between the Ministry, Parliament and Municipalities.
Mr. / Madame Chair
Protection of children against violence has been a priority for the Icelandic Government. The Ministry of Social Affairs is currently working on implementing proposals on an “information centre for tackling violence against children” made to coordinate research and statistics for sharing between government agencies and NGOs in order to enhance prevention of violence against children.
Iceland has also emphasized the crucial importance to have the right services and response in place when children are believed to be victims of sexual violence or other serious violence. The Barnahus-model, or the Children‘s House, has been developed in Iceland over the last three decades, where children can receive all services they need in one place. Barnahus is a child-friendly and multi-agency response to child abuse, a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to investigate cases and provide appropriate therapeutic services for child victims. We are happy to see that Barnahus has opened in around 20 countries.
Mr. / Madame Chair,
In many parts of the world, including in Iceland, children and youth have recently protested government inaction on the climate crisis. This solidarity is a strong indication of children’s concern for the situation created by past generations, and those in power have a duty to listen to what they have to say.
The Icelandic government finds it of crucial importance to include young people in decision-making. Recently, the Icelandic government approved a proposal from the Minister of Social Affairs and Children aimed at increasing participation of children in government policy formulation and having major decision-making and legislative proposals reviewed based on their impact on the position and rights of children.
We also have a Youth Council operating for the SDGs - a platform for youth to express their voice to policy makers. Young people have the right to have their views heard and child participation is crucial for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Mr. / Madame Chair,
Promoting and protecting children's rights is central for sustainable development. We – the international community – need to continue to make universal progress in children’s human rights and protection efforts and thereby accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Investing in children throughout their journey to adulthood is a moral duty and an essential investment in a better present and future for all of us.