H.H. Shaikha Sabika
Bint Ebrahim Al-Khalifa
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have the pleasure, at the outset, to convey to you the greetings of the King of Bahrain His Majesty Shaikh Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and his wishes that the conference culminates in success.
The importance the Kingdom of Bahrain attributes to childhood is manifested in its constitution and in various legislations that govern all aspects of child protection, care and welfare. In practice, it has been translated into action taken in the social, economical, cultural, health and educational fields and other measures leading to the achievement of the desired objectives. This attention has taken a high quality course through the establishment of the National committee for Children in 1999.
The legal system pertaining to the rights of the child
in the Kingdom of Bahrain is based, partly, on the provisions of the
This comprehensive reform plan will undoubtedly have positive consequences with regards to the conditions and questions of childhood in the Kingdom.
The last two decades have been marked by notable development in the area of legislations pertaining to the rights of the child worldwide, we hope that compliance with these legislations would constitute a distinctive feature of the forthcoming decade wherein we may divine a bright and prosperous future for our children and wherein states may overcome the discrepancy between the text and the application, a discrepancy that accounts for the tragic conditions that many children suffer.
We have considered carefully the Secretary-General's wholesome report on children in this connection, we would like to make the following observations.
First, with regard to protection of children during armed conflicts, we point to the importance of practical measures that could be taken against those who violate children's rights in such conflicts. This requires the enactment, in coordination with international judicial bodies, of laws that ensure the protection of children.
Second, although the report did not deal with conditions of children under foreign occupation, it is incumbent upon us to recall the plight of the suffering of Palestinian children who are being subjected to the worst conditions under Israeli occupation.
In condemning all offenses perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces in the occupied Palestinian territories, which have caused the death of hundreds of Palestinian children, the Kingdom of Bahrain calls upon the international community to take a moral and humanitarian stand to put an end to these aggressions against the Palestinian people. What takes place in occupied Palestine is not only a violation of the international humanitarian law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is also a breach of all human behavior and values, and constitutes a threat to security and peace. This has been emphasized by His Majesty the King of Bahrain when he said, " Security has to be enjoyed by all or by nobody. That is by virtue of the uniformity of interaction and the mutual influence among all parts of the world in which any discrimination or double standards or the monopolization of prosperity, freedom and justice by one part to the detriment of the others are unacceptable".
Third, there was a marked difference in viewpoint during the preparatory meetings for this session. Some have endeavored to depict those as differences in civilization whereas as we review them as intellectual differences which oughtt "to be settled through respect for the individuality of each culture and for the opinion of others, without prejudice to the principles and purposes of the United Nations.
Fourth, in addressing the rising phenomenon of children joining in armed conflicts in many parts of the world, it is imperative that the various local and international reasons and factors that further aggravate this phenomenon be considered, and that objective, human and moral solutions be found.
We look forward to a world of compassion, love and cooperation. A world wherein children may live with honor and dignity, with their rights, bestowed upon then and ordained that they be realized for their benefit, by Almighty God.
That is what we, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, King, People, men and women have determined, God willing, to achieve.