Statement by Dr. Nobuko Kurosaki
Alternate Representative of Japan
Item 60(a): Promotion and protection of the rights of children
Item 60(b): Follow-up to the special session on children
63rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
15 October 2008
In this year marking the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Japan recognizes the underlying basic principle in the Declaration that children are entitled to particular care and assistance, and reaffirms its commitment to work in cooperation with the international community to create a better world for children - one in which they can grow up without fear and look forward to a bright future.
Japan welcomes that the Third World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents will be held in Rio de Janeiro this November following World Congress II held in Yokohama, Japan in 2001. In addition, I would like to express our appreciation and respect to the co-organizers, the Government of Brazil, UNICEF, ECPAT International and NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Japan hopes that the active contribution of the participants from various sectors to the discussion on the five main themes on which the Congress is focusing at this time, namely "Forms of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Its New Dimensions", "Legal Frameworks, Accountability and Law Enforcement", "Holistic Integrated Inter-sectoral Policies", "Social Responsibility and Accountability of the Private Sector" and "Strategies and Goals for International Cooperation", will help to maintain the momentum of the international commitment to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children. As a previous organizer of this Congress, Japan looks forward to working with governments, international organizations and civil society toward producing substantive results during World Congress III.
On the issue of children affected by the conflict, although we are encouraged to see that noticeable results have been achieved by the active engagement of the international community, at the same time, there remains much that needs to be done.
In the post-conflict situation, one of the challenges relating to children is the reintegration of former child soldiers into the community. This task requires a comprehensive approach involving all stakeholders and sustained international support, and entails not only providing protection and assistance to the children themselves such as physical and mental care, education and vocational training, but also assisting the development of a community which provides a child-friendly environment.
The issue clearly illustrates the importance of a people-centered approach, which focuses on the empowerment of individuals and communities as well as on protection from the threats arising from such conflict and poverty. This is the human security approach, which Japan has been promoting globally, through special efforts such as organizing the Friends of Human Security and supporting various projects through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS). For example, through the Fund Japan supports the project being implemented by UNICEF and FAO entitled "Support to Child-Friendly Environment through Community Participation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo", which is fostering a better environment for education of children, health, safe water and sanitation.
One of the basic goals of the Convention of the Rights of the Child is to ensure the survival and development of the child, and this principle must be observed in all circumstances. Under the situation of armed conflict, poverty and hunger, children are the most vulnerable to the threat of loss of life, and indeed many have lost their lives. Moreover, the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the sub-Saharan region is a growing concern, particularly with respect to the issue of mother-to-child transmission and AIDS orphans, and 20 million seriously malnourished children under the age of five are in urgent need of treatment all over the world.
In this context, ensuring the right to survival and development of the child needs to be addressed across a wide range of issues including eradication of poverty and hunger, education, gender equality and health, and these tasks are closely linked with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As this year marks the mid-point in the efforts toward achieving the MDGs by 2015, Japan organized the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on Development (TICAD IV) and the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit and took the lead in the discussion for strengthening efforts. It is our sincere wish to help to safeguard the right of survival of children by making further contributions, including improvement of access to good quality medical services.
Violence against children continues to occur all over the world, including in my own country. It is still an all-too-common occurrence for serious violence to deprive children of their precious lives, and prompt action therefore must be taken by all stakeholders in society. In order to tackle violence against children, tireless efforts should be made through all the stages of prevention, early detection and response, and recovery of children from violence. Japan has revised its domestic laws to facilitate more effective action to combat this problem and has engaged in active efforts to raise the awareness of families, schools and communities in order to achieve a better understanding of how to prevent violence against children.
Japan strongly believes that the world should be a place where every child's rights are respected and where children are allowed to be children. We are committed to making further efforts and to continue working with Member States, international organizations and civil society to this end.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
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