|Statement by Ms. ZHANG Dan, Counsellor of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations, at the Third Committee of the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly under Item on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children|
16 October 2008, New York
The Chinese delegation is pleased to note that with the continuous efforts made by the international community, national governments and the civil society, further progress has been achieved in the field of promoting and protecting the rights of children. Many states and the United Nations agencies have done a lot of work in this area, for which we would like to express our appreciation.
At the same time, we have to face the fact that poverty, hunger, disease, natural disaster, child labor, drugs, sexual exploitation, war and conflicts still plague many parts of the world, endangering children's lives and health and violating their rights. The global cause of protecting the rights of children is still confronted with many challenges. In this context, it is imperative for the international community to strengthen cooperation and take effective measures to better promote and protect the rights of children. To this end, national governments are required to take legislative, administrative and judicial measures. Meanwhile, efforts must be made to eliminate the root causes leading to the violation of the rights of children. The Chinese government calls upon the developed countries to take up more responsibilities and obligations and provide the developing countries with financial and technical assistance so as to create a favorable environment for the healthy development of all the children in the world.
The population of children in China accounts for one fifth of that in the world. In China, children are often referred to as “flowers of the country” and “future of mankind”. The Chinese government has all along attached great importance to the promotion and protection of the rights of children and has adopted a series of legislative and administrative measures to this end. China has established its domestic legal and regulatory system in this area composed of the Constitution, the Civic Law, Law on Child Adoption, Law on the Protection of Minors and Law on Compulsory Education. At the operational level, a comprehensive and integrated nationwide system has also taken shape, with the State Council Commission on Women and Children as the lead organization supported by relevant government agencies. Since May 2001, the Outline for the Development of Children in China (2001-2010), a document promulgated by the Chinese government, has been implemented nationwide. The Outline contains goals and specific measures for the first decade of the 21st century in four areas, namely, children and health, children and education, children and legal protection, and children and environment. The Outline is our national program of action on children, and also part of China's follow-up action for the achievement of MDGs and the objectives of the General Assembly Special Session on Children. The Outline is successfully carried forward.
In addition, the Chinese government has adopted plans of action in several specific areas. For example, since Jan. 1, 2008, China has started to implement its Program of Action on Combating Human Trafficking in Women and Children (2008-2012), the first one of this nature in China. Such special plans of action aim at addressing the priorities and difficult problems in the cause of children. In these plans of action, special attention is given to the service and protection provided to orphans, children with disabilities and street children, and the relief to and settlement of AIDS orphans. These plans also contain effective measures to protect children, in particular girls, from abuse, exploitation and violence.
As early as 1991, the Chinese government ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since then, China has acceded to such instruments as the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography” and the Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. In December 2007, the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress ratified Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict, which entered into force in China on March 2 this year. The Chinese government has fulfilled its treaty obligations in real earnest and submitted two reports on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the first report on the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has given positive appraisal of China's reports and has put forward some recommendations for further promoting the rights of children in China. The Chinese government is taking a series of measures to implement the useful recommendations of the Committee. In June 2007, the newly amended “Law on the Protection of the Minors” was promulgated and put into implementation. The amended Law has incorporated relevant provisions in the Convention on the Rights of the Child by establishing in explicit terms the principles of “priority for the child” and “best interest of the child” and reaffirming the basic rights of the minors such as the right to life, the right to development, the right to protection, the right to participation and the right to education. These provisions will play a positive role in the protection of the rights of children in China. Meanwhile, the Chinese government is continuing its fruitful cooperation with UNICEF in the following up to the implementation of the concluding observation of the Committee on the Right of the Child.
This year is a crucial year for the implementation of the outcome document entitled A World Fit for Children adopted by the 2002 Special Session of the General Assembly on Children and of the MDGs. The declaration adopted by the High Level Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly in December 2007 has pointed out the direction for and provided impetus to the concerted efforts by governments of all countries in the comprehensive implementation of the outcome document of the Special Session on Children.
In order to eradicate hunger and poverty for children and improve the well-being of and protection for children, the Chinese government will continue to increase input in children's health and education, better children's welfare system, improve the relevant legislation and strengthen international cooperation to increase assistance to the Least Developed Countries in areas like food, education and health care. We are willing to work together with the international community to strive for the comprehensive and timely achievement of the MDGs and for building a "world fit for children".
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.