H.E. Mr. Pak Gil
At the Twenty-Seventh Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children
New York, 9 May Juche 91 (2002)
Mr. Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Ms. Executive Director of UNICEF,
On behalf of the Delegation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), I would like, first of all, to express my thanks to Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ms. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF and the United Nations and UNICEF Secretariats for their efforts to make the Special Session on Children successful.
The special session, convened in a new century, is of particular significance in reviewing the implementation of the last decade goals for the survival, protection and development of children spelt out at the World Summit for Children (WSC) and in exploring practical ways and means for new goals to be achieved during the current decade.
The DPRK delegation will strive together with other delegations to make the special session an important occasion of laying another milestone in carrying out the common cause of humankind for the well-being of children.
It is well known that the rise and fall of a nation depends on how to nurture its children, masters of the future, who will shoulder the future destiny of a country and a nation.
The DPRK carries out the policy of cherishing children by setting out children as "king of the nation" and giving first priority to child-care and education on the basis of man-centered Juche idea.
The DPRK had adopted the Thesis on Socialist Education, Law on Public Health, Law on Upbringing and Education of Children and established the systems of free medical care and universal 11-year compulsory free education, thus ensuring that the state holds fully responsible for the health and well-being of children and women.
Thanks to the enforcement of the Government policies of popular health and advanced education, successes had been registered in implementing the National Plan of Action during the period under review and considerable progress was made already in early 1990s, in achieving goals for children.
In the second half of 1990s, consecutive natural disasters combined with other external factors imposed serious negative consequences on the economic development of the country, presenting great difficulties and challenges to the Government in its efforts for the well-being of children. Nevertheless, the Government has continuously provided social services such as free education and free medical care.
The DPRK has newly adopted the laws and regulations such as the Law on Education in 1999 and steadily made better of the already existed ones in keeping abreast with the state of the progress.
It is entirely attributable to the great army-first policy and the popular leadership of the respected General Kim Jong Il that the DPRK, not big in population and territory, could consistently enforce social policy for children and women, defending firmly its sovereignty despite endless attempts on the part of outside forces to isolate and suffocate it.
For the well-being and protection of children acid women, the Government has consistently attached importance on the international collaboration and cooperation as well.
Last year the DPRK acceded to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and is working on the preparation of the second report on the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) in this context.
The DPRK has also closely cooperated with UNICEF and other international organizations and NGOs as well as donors for the well-being of children.
I take this opportunity to express deep thanks to UN agencies and donor countries, NGOs and other organizations, and especially to Ms. Carol Bellarmy, Executive Director of UNICEF, for their sincere assistance extended to our endeavors of promoting the well-being of children.
Each year more than 10 million children die and 150 million children suffer from malnutrition on a global level and many child issues including child labor, child trafficking and child abuse are still far away from their solution. These facts indicate seriousness of child issues and show that much more needs to be done in the coming years.
The DPRK delegation is of the view that the current session should pay particular attention to the following points.
Firstly, appropriate national policy that ensures survival, protection, development and participation of children should be provided, along with firm legal system.
Secondly, strengthening and developing national economic foundation conducive to the full achievement of the goals for the decade to he adopted at the current Special Session needs to be ensured. Strong national economy provides material assurance for the well-being of children.
Thirdly, international environment needs to be created to help solve the child issues on the sound basis. In line with this, it is necessary to remove negative impact of globalization, lift unilateral economic sanctions and blockade against developing countries and settle down conflicts through peaceful dialogue.
The reality shows that unilateral economic sanctions and blockade against developing countries and all sorts of conflicts cause severe impact on individual countries and surrounding regions, and on their social and economic development, threatening the right to survival of millions of children.
Fourthly, financial contributions and international collaboration should be enhanced to help solve the child issues.
All countries should translate their commitments into action to implement social development goals including 20/20 initiative made at the recent world international conferences such as the World Summit for Social Development, Millennium Summit, and the United Nations system and its specialized agencies pay particular attention to the endeavors in this regard.
Ensuring durable peace on the Korean peninsula today is one of the fundamental prerequisite for resolving the child issues in the region.
The DPRK Government will do its best to boost cooperation between the north and south of Korea rejecting all forms of dependence on outside forces with a view to fully implementing the historic north-south joint declaration, which represents the will and aspiration of the Korean people to realize national reunification based on their own efforts.
The DPRK, with due attention to achieving new goals for the decade, will direct all its efforts to the lofty work of promoting the well being of children.