Ambassador Hjálmar W. Hannesson.
Permanent Representative of Iceland
to the United Nations
Third Committee agenda item 67
Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children,
The Government of Iceland remains fully committed to implementing the Convention on Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols, which Iceland has already ratified. We believe that the Convention together with its optional Protocols provides for a comprehensive framework for the protection of children’s´ rights. We urge those countries which have not ratified or acceded to the Convention and its Optional Protocols, to do so. It is, however, not enough to ratify these legal instruments. We must ensure that we honour our commitments under the Convention and act on them.
We warmly welcome the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General contained in document A/60/207 on the progress in realizing the commitments from the Special Session of the General Assembly on Children. The report clearly indicates that countries have increased their actions to translate the commitments from the Special Session into their national policy and strategies. We all committed ourselves to implement the outcome document and have a duty to continue with our efforts to fulfill the important goals laid out at the Session. Our approach should be progress oriented, focusing on actions and implementation.
Violence against children exists in all societies to a varying degree. We must help to break this vicious cycle. With this in mind, Iceland has incorporated an explicit duty of parents to safeguard children against violence, which entails a ban on parental corporal punishment of children. Iceland would like to urge those member states who have not already introduced legislative measures to that effect, to do so.
We are concerned, Mr. Chairman, about the impact armed conflict has on children; whether it is the result of children’s direct involvement in hostilities or they are harmed by the widespread repercussions of armed conflict on their society in general. We urge all states to reflect provisions of the Security Council’s resolution 1539, adopted on 22 April of last year, in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of children in conflict areas.
Iceland fully supports the important work of the Independent Expert for the United Nations on violence against children, Mr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, and we look forward to receiving his final report and hope it brings us new insights to combat violence against children. The Regional Consultation for the UN Study on Violence Against Children for Europe and Central Asia, held in Ljubljana, in July this year, proved to demonstrate the seriousness of this issue for the well-being of children and underlined the importance of coherent strategies to combat violence at different levels of society. Iceland fully supports the Ljubljana Final Conclusions to Act Now on Violence Against Children.
Commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and sexual abuse of children remain one of the greatest threats to children in the world. We would like to welcome the conclusions by the Presidency of the final Session of the Yokohama Review on Combating Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children for Europe and Central Asia, which also was generously hosted by the Slovenian government in Ljubljana last July. The conclusions highlight some of the most important tasks ahead, both nationally and internationally, in our commitment to make progress in this field.
Iceland has on previous occasions, Mr. Chairman, drawn attention to the importance of improving the living conditions and securing the rights of children living in residential institutions and other forms of out-of-home placement. It is a sad fact that the number of children deprived of parental care is rising rapidly in many parts of the world. We would like to draw a special attention to the importance of the recently adopted Recommendation of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to Member States on Children’s Rights in Residential Institutions. Iceland welcomes the Recommendations last month from the Committee on the Rights of the Child on a Day of General Discussion on Children without Parental Care. In particular, Iceland fully supports the Committee’s recommendation to prepare a set of international standards for the protection and alternative care of children without parental care for the UN General Assembly to consider and adopt in 2006.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the importance we attach to effective action in safeguarding the rights and interests of children is reflected in our substantially increased financial contribution to UNICEF by 60% this year.
Thank you Mr. Chairman,