The Consort of H.H. the Emir of the State of Qatar
 H.H. Sheikhs Mozah bint Nasser Al-Misnad
 President of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs

Before the
Twenty-Seventh Special Session
of the General Assembly on Children

New York 
8th May 2002


 Mr. President,

It gives me great pleasure to extend to you, on behalf of the state of Qatar, sincere congratulations on presiding over the 27th Special Session On Children.

Also, I cannot but express sincere appreciation to Her Excellency, Ambassador Patricia Durrant, the Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations for her valuable efforts in conducting the work of the preparatory committee for this session.

Mr. President,

Our present session is convened at a date other than the one originally scheduled, because of the events that have occurred in our world and their subsequent repercussions, which affirmed our shared conviction that the only way to uproot terrorism is through the promotion and consolidation of cultural dialogue among nations.

All of this strongly prompts me to steer away from such parochial concerns as the achievements of the state of Qatar relevant to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the challenges it is facing, and towards the universal concerns and the conflicts and turmoil experienced by the children of the world, although both form an integral whole in an interconnected, interdependent world.

Hence, it is our duty and our responsibility to espouse the principle of dialogue in our conduct, our practice, at home with our children, in our educational curricula and in our immediate and larger environments. It is only in this manner that we can
establish a positive, universal, communal culture based on the balance between interests and values; one that acknowledges the right to differ on the basis of cooperation, virtue and righteousness.

Here, I would like to emphasize that regardless of our different philosophical tenets and ideological choices, our subscription, free from any excess or one-upmanship, to the system of values of the divine religions, whose stated objective, as we know, is to develop the Earth, would establish a moral consensus that paves the way to the dialogue through which we can stem violence and extremism and spread serenity and peace.

Hence, we can say that our present meeting is a reaffirmation of the role of the child in our societies, now and in the future. It does not suffice, from my point of view, to rely on the codified rights of the child guaranteed by the U.N. Convention to crystallize our expectations of that role. Rather, we have to stress the basic principle that we owe it to the children to teach them to recognize the rights of others. Otherwise, we would raise a rebellious, selfish individual, unmindful of his duties and incapable of living and interacting with others.

An analysis of our present reality reflects a bitter reminder of the flagrant contradictions between ideals and legal rules on the one hand, and actual reality on the other hand. How can we speak of the human right to life, that sacred right, in the face of this tragic reality unfolding on the land of Palestine, where city squares, I repeat city squares, are rife with hideous scenes that offend all creeds and values.

What sin have infants and children committed to be deprived of food, medicine, education and even life. 

 Mr. President,

Weren't the men perpetrating violence and oppressions in those regions once children who were accustomed to exercising their right without heeding the rights of others?

In the face of such facts, we must pledge, individually and collectively, to sensitize our children to their identity and the dictates of humanity.

We are before a real test of our ability to commit ourselves to implementing what was agreed upon in the Final Document of the Special session, which stressed, inter alia, the need to give priority to children. Let us begin with the children of Palestine and all the children of the world. Then, and only then, will this session be a special session, not only in the significance of its convening, but also in the level of its resolution and recommendations.
And as long as we are on the subject of the rights of the child, it is the view of the State of Qatar that such rights hinge on the actual realization on the rights and duties of the family. We do not want a child whose links to his family and communal values have been served. Rather, we want a child who enjoys intimate relations with his immediate and larger environment based to a greater extent on human instinct than on legal codes. 

Mr. President,

When we advocate the rights of the child, we should link that to the system of rights that every human being is supposed to enjoy in his society. Any real progress in this regard must be measured by the extent of evolution of public freedoms, participation in decision-making, and the expansion of the functions and roles of civil society organizations whose great importance in human development is universally recognized.

However, so as not to be idealistic or utopian, we must realize and be convinced that the rights of the child require, first and foremost, a genuine political will and, equally important, the mobilization of the necessary resources, without which the situation will remain unchanged. Still, many developing countries, no matter how strong their resolve is, will find it difficult to commit themselves to the plans for the advancement of children as long as they are chaffing under the burden of indebtedness.

It is our international responsibility to divert part of the indebtedness of those states to UNICEF to be invested according to an institutional scheme in those development fields that affect the status of the child.

Mr. President,

We have come to this important gathering entertaining the hope, and prompted by the desire and the resolve to rise to the level of this critical juncture in the process of our children's development. We, as adults, are duty bound, to seek the realization of their aspirations by restoring their confidence in the present and the future and teaching them how to match ideals with deeds.
I am certain that the serious dialogue the prevailing in this session will strengthen our resolve to overcome the fear, oppression and deprivation, which are the lot of millions of children.

On behalf of the State of Qatar, I renew the expression of thanks to you and extend sincere appreciation to His Excellency, the Secretary General of the United Nations and his assistants for their valuable efforts for the success of this session.

May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.