Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Girls Speak Out commemoration event marking the International Day of the Girl Child, observed on 11 October:
I thank the Permanent Missions of Canada, Peru and Turkey for bringing us together.
This annual Girls Speak Out event is a wonderful occasion on the United Nations calendar. It is a day on which we celebrate girls — their dreams, their talents, their very being. And so, in that spirit, I want to welcome Isabella C., Isabella M., Rose, Cecilia, Sophia, Emily, Clara, Riya and all the girls who are celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child.
You are all remarkable and inspiring. So are girls across the world. You are leaders and entrepreneurs, innovators and initiators of global movements. You are creative and compassionate. You are sassy and you are smart.
The theme of this year’s observance gets it just right: “GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable”. We have come together under that banner to celebrate the achievements by, with and for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990.
Those landmarks have ushered in major progress and opportunities in some areas. At the same time, we still have a long way to go. Each year, 12 million girls under 18 are married, 130 million girls worldwide are still out of school and millions suffer violence, exploitation and the impacts of armed conflict.
This is outrageous and unacceptable. Now is the time to act. And we need to support you.
The United Nations will continue to advocate for your rights, and to support Governments in providing you with a safe childhood, access to quality education and skills and an environment where you can make informed decisions about your own lives. Together, we will continue to celebrate girls everywhere and work with you to break boundaries so that you can take charge of your own future.
We hear you. And we are committed to making every day the day of the girl.