17 November 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, in Message to Forum on Child Rights Convention, Says Growing

Socio-economic Disparities Threaten Poor, Other Marginalized Children

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonís message to the second Forum on the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 17 November:

On behalf of the United Nations and the United Nations Childrenís Fund (UNICEF), I wish to convey our deepest appreciation to His Majesty Carl Gustaf and Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden for hosting this timely and important Forum on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.† Your leadership in galvanizing momentum for the Conventionís implementation is of great importance to the realization of childrenís rights all over the world.

The Convention is the most widely ratified international human rights instrument in history.† Its principles and standards serve as a timeless, child-centred, guiding reference that has taken root worldwide, in diverse cultures.† The Convention has transformed attitudes towards children by defining the minimum standards for their treatment, care and development.† It has successfully promoted the participation of children in decision-making processes affecting their well-being and future prospects.† It has helped to foster greater awareness of child rights in businesses and schools.† Its impact can be seen in national and local legislation, in the establishment of public institutions dedicated to child protection and survival, and in the adoption of child-friendly budget initiatives.

While there have been great advances towards fulfilling the rights of all children, much remains to be done to make the promises in the treaty a reality.† There is great concern throughout the world about increasing economic and social disparities.† Children from marginalized, remote and impoverished communities, and those who are living with disabilities or who belong to minority or indigenous populations, are at greater risk of not enjoying their rights to health, education and to protection from violence, exploitation and abuse.† That is why I welcome the decision to focus this Forumís attention on article 3 of the Convention, which states that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration.

The United Nations continues to stand up for the rights of all children, especially the most vulnerable.† In addition to the work of UNICEF, my Special Representatives on Children and Armed Conflict and Sexual Violence in Conflict are among the many officials dedicated to this cause, which is a top priority across the United Nations system and for me, personally.

Thank you again to His Majesty and Her Majesty, and to all our partners in Sweden and beyond, for supporting this noble work.† I wish you a productive and memorable forum.

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For information media • not an official record