Third Committee agenda item 63, 13 October 2006 - Rights of Children
First of all allow me to express our appreciation of the Report from the independent expert, Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, on the UN study on violence against children.
This comprehensive study provides a new and strengthened basis to address a key issue: the promotion of the well-being and healthy development of the world’s children by taking decisive measures to protect them from violence in all forms and context. Violence against children is in itself a grave violation of human rights. But in addition, it also stacks the odds against children growing into balanced and productive members of society. Violence against children therefore has serious implications for the functioning and development of societies as a whole.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has in the past proven to be an invaluable tool in our efforts to further the rights of children all over the world. We believe that the report has already proven to be a significant contribution towards this same goal and we look forward to studying its recommendations even more carefully. The active involvement of governments, international organizations, the contribution of civil society, NGO´s and last but not least, the participation of children themselves all over the world, must be recognized as a major achievement. The publication of the report will strengthen this dynamic process, create new understanding and insights, and make possible the development of new policies and strategies in different parts of the world. In particular, it is important to develop programs at both national and local level.
The outcome of the Ljubljana Regional Consultation on the UN Study on Violence Against Children for Europe and Central Asia in July 2005 had a significant impact on awareness among governments. The Council of Europe launched the program “Building a Europe for and with children”, in Monaco in April 2006.
Iceland welcomes the integrated approach of this program in which the key concepts are “partnership” and “communication”. I should also like to highlight two additional activities of the Council of Europe on developing strategies to protect children against violence that Iceland has contributed to: the project on “Parenting skills and non-violent upbringing” and the future Council of Europe treaty against sexual exploitation and abuse.
The report underlines that the key to a healthy and harmonious development of the child is the quality of the upbringing of the parents throughout childhood and adolescence. The work within the Council of Europe on improving parental skills has the aim of embodying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Guidelines for Governments and professionals.
Iceland would like to emphasize the importance of child-friendly judicial procedures to protect the children from trauma and re-victimization. Iceland has already reorganized the procedures for the investigation of child sexual abuse, by establishing an interdisciplinary and multi-agency child-friendly setting, a “Children’s House”, where child protection services, the medical professions, law enforcement, prosecution and even court judges work together under one roof.
We are pleased to note that other governments have implemented this model in addressing the grave issues of sexual violence against children that are elaborated in the report.
Mr. Chairman, The Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Iceland has recently invited Mr. Pinheiro to visit Iceland to introduce the report. We hope that Mr. Pinheiro will be able to accept the invitation.
Finally, Mr. Chairman,
I would like to underline the important contribution of UNICEF in safeguarding the rights and interests of children. Iceland´s emphasis on the work of UNICEF is reflected in our substantially increased financial contributions to UNICEF. I am also proud of the fact that the people of Iceland have been particularly active and make the highest contribution per capita to UNICEF of national societies.
Thank you for your attention.