Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to of the Republic of Belarus to the United Nations,


MAY 9, 2002 New York

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me, on behalf of the delegation of the Republic of Belarus, to welcome the participants of one of this year's most remarkable events - Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Children - organized for the sake of children, for the sake of the future of each and every nation, and, ultimately, for the sake of humanity. Today, we have gathered to conduct a truly comprehensive analysis of progress in the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit on Children, to enable ourselves not just to exchange our positive national experiences gained during 12 years after the Summit but also to admit the fact that in the today's world each in every three children continue to suffer from poverty, each in every twelve children die under the age of five with millions that suffer from exploitation and have no access to education. These children are expecting from us concrete actions to make this world livable for them.

Our country has not been able to escape the problems faced by children all over the world. They include social orphanage, child abuse, juvenile delinquency, children neglected by their parents, spread of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse practices among adolescents.

Mr. President,
Preparations for the UN GA Special Session on Children were among the priorities for the Government of Belarus, national and local authorities and non-governmental organizations. The Government approved the Plan of Actions to prepare for the Special Session and issued a National Report on the progress achieved in the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit on Children. Belarus has an established practice of preparation and publication of annual national reports on the status of children. Organization of national children's fora and meetings of local authorities with leaders of children's organizations have become traditional.

The Republic of Belarus adopted the Law on the Rights of the Child that constitutes a legislative basis for the establishment of social and legal mechanisms to protect children's rights. As many as 27 legislative and normative acts on children were adopted improving national legislation in this area. The existing National Commission on the Rights of the Child has become a central national and public organ for the coordination of national policies on children. A special program "Children of Belarus" was established by the Presidential Decree. Belarus also adopted a new marriage code. A system of targeted social protection is being established.

A number of public events were organized on the occasion of the l0th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since 2000 every Belarusian reaching 16 years of age receives his national passport with copies of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Universal Declaration of Human Rights attached to it. New books on the rights of the child were published for schools and wider public. Belarus is establishing a network of information centers in the area of the rights of the child not to mention a most recent all-nation campaign for the promotion of these rights. National periodical press published the text of this Session's final document A World Fit for Children.

Over the past 2 years Belarus has become a party to ILO Convention No.182 on the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Belarus signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Preparations are under way for Belarus to become a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Mr. President,
It has been 16 years after the catastrophe at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant yet the consequences of that tragedy continue to affect the health of children in Belarus. Over 400.000 children under the age of 16 continue to be victimized by Chernobyl, including nearly 40.000 under the age of 14. These children are a matter of special care and concern for the Government.

We address the expressions of appreciation to the United Nations Children's Fund as a major organizer of our meeting, as well as to the regional bureaus of UNICEF doing tremendous job at the field level. A number of projects in Belarus are implemented with the assistance of UNICEF, including the prevention of diseases caused by iodine deficiency, combating the spread of HIV/AIDS, creation of children's orphanages, adoption of abandoned children, juvenile justice and others.

We are convinced that a great many of problems facing children can be resolved through concerted international efforts. We add our voice to the support for the establishment of a fair world for children and declare the determination of the Republic of Belarus to cooperate internationally for the attainment of tangible success for this generous cause.

Thank you for your attention.