H.E. Mr. Karel Brezina
Minister and Head of the Government Office of the Czech Republic

at the Twenty-Seventh Special Session
of the United Nations General Assembly on Children
and Message by the President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel
to the Participants of the 27th UN General Assembly Special Session on Children

New York, 9 May 2002


Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Czech delegation I would like to express my congratulations to all those who have been instrumental in organising this session. We are confident that the personal commitment of all of us to the cause of children will make this Special Session a success. It will reinforce our efforts to realise the goals of the World Summit for Children and will focus our attention also on the new goals, proposed as a reflection of the changing nature of challenges facing children of the world at the beginning of the 21st century. The Czech Republic views these targets as an essential contribution to our progress towards the full implementation of the Millenium Declaration.

I have the honour to bring with me a personal message from President Vaclav Havel addressed to you, the participants of this Special Session. Copies of this message are at your disposal.

Mr President,

The World Summit for Children in 1990 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child represented major turning points towards a joint commitment for planning and action in support of children around the world. The World Declaration on the Survival. Protection and Development of Children and its Plan of Action were also an important cornerstone for the advancement of the status of children, protection of their rights as the main means of securing their well-being.

Preparations for this Special Session, including the completion of the Czech Republic's end-decade national review report, provided our Government with an excellent opportunity to examine what had been accomplished and what has yet to be resolved. The experience and comments of citizens and non-governmental organisations to this draft national report were helpful and proved the significance and necessity of mutual respect and co-operation among the Government, civil society and the private sector over the complex issues of sustainable social development.

The impact of the conclusions of the World Summit for Children has been reflected in many aspects of our policies concerning children. The Czech Republic welcomes, in particular, the coming into force of the two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, one on the involvement of children in the armed conflict, and the other on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. It is my honour to inform you that the Czech Republic has ratified the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2001, as the fourteenth State-Party. The Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography is now in the process of its ratification. Our Government appreciates the ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour as an extremely important step of the international community towards the protection of all children's rights and the final total elimination of child labour. Therefore the Czech Republic ratified this Convention in 2001 and by the end of 2002 will hopefully finalise also the ratification of the ILO Convention No. 138 on the Minimum Age.

Since the World Summit, a number of measures have been taken in terms of new legislation, government and ministerial decisions related to children and families. In 1998 the Government of the Czech Republic established its Human Rights Council, which became a consulting and co-ordinating body for issues connected with the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the jurisdiction of the Czech Republic. One of the 8 sections of this Council deals with issues related to the rights of the child according to the CRC (Convention of Rights of the Child). In 1999 the Government approved the Guidelines of the Government Policy toward the Young Generation until the year 2002. It thereby accepted responsibility for the development of the young generation and for creating conditions for its broad participation in the social, political and economic life of our country. (n this context, the Government also created a temporary body - National Committee for the Family, Children and Youth -, headed on the ministerial level and involving representatives of governmental as well as non-governmental institutions. The objective of the Committee was to assist the Government in drafting its pro-family policy and creating a system of measures supportive to children and families in difficult situations.

My Government welcomes the focus of the Report of the Secuetary-General as well as the focus of the Special Session's draft final document on the core challenges such as poverty eradication, prevention of armed conflict, protection from violence. discrimination and the tight against HIV/AIDS. The Govermnent of the Czech Republic places special emphasis on the children's right for protection from abuse and violence and for quality education. We are convinced that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols should be an underlying framework for our future actions in this direction.

Evaluation of the fulfilment of our goals should be performed regularly at all levels, based on comparable and transparent internationally agreed indicators, to enable Governments, regions and societies to exchange good examples, share experience and plan mutually supportive co-operation.

At the end let me express our appreciation for UNICEF and other organisations who have made a signi{acant contribution to promoting rights and the well-being of children and our special thanks to UNICEF for the work it has done in preparing this Special Session.

Thank you for your attention.



 the President of the Czech Republic,

Vaclav Havel,

to the Participants of the 27th UN General Assembly Special Session on Children

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my most cordial greetings to the 27th UN General Assembly Special Session on Children and to wish you every success in your deliberations.
The World Summit for Children, organized in this city decade ago, followed unprecedented success achieved by the international community: most countries in the world had, within just a few months, acceded to the International Convention on the froteciion of the Rights of Children. which exhaustively and precisely defined threats to which the rights of children are exposed throughout the world. I am proud to have had the honor to sign this Convention as the representative of the Czech Republic. Together, we signed it to confirm our commitments resulting fiom the World Declaration on Child Survival, Protection and Development.

Now it is time for review and consideration about whether- or not we Have managed to honor the commitments stated in these documents, by which we expressed our common concern about the future of the next generations and our common responsibility for them.

Over the last ten years, we have seen much work to improve the position of children by the UN and UNICEF, as well as by governments and non-governmental organizations.

What we cannot ignore, however, is that many of the problems persist. and that there are new threats to the lives and healthy development of children. There are still too many children suffering from hunger, malnutrition and diseases; too many children becoming victims of violence and armed conflicts. Little success has been achieved in the fight against child slave labor, child prostitution and pornography. Millions of children have poor access to healthcare and education. There is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

Children are born in a world they cannot influence. This world is being formed by us, adults, and we are responsible for what is happening in it. It is our paramount duty to join our forces to ensure that children can live dignified, fully-fledged lives in a world for which they, too, will assume responsibility one day.

I believe firmly that your meeting will make progress towards that goal.

( Vaclav Havel )

To the participants of the 27th UN General Assembly Special Session on Children

New York

United States of America