Statement by Ms. Azusa Shinohara
Alternate Representative of Japan
Item 64: Promotion and protection of the rights of children
65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
13 October 2010
The Government of Japan is pleased that a large number of countries worldwide are now State Parties to both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two optional protocols, which are fundamental mechanisms to ensure the respect of and to promote the fundamental human rights of children. We must all bear in mind how important it is that each State Party implements the rights set forth in the Convention within its national legal code to realize the protection and promotion of the rights of children. As a State Party to both the Convention and the optional protocols itself, Japan for its part is committed to work further on necessary legislation at the national level and implementation of policy measures, based on the concluding observations submitted to us by the Committee on the Rights of the Child this June, and to provide a range of assistance to children living under difficult circumstances all around the world in cooperation with other members of the international community.
As globalization progresses, factors including social inequity, the spread of infectious diseases and the world financial and economic crisis have all worsened the situation of children in many regions worldwide. For this reason, the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session adopted a resolution on the rights of the child with a focus theme on the right of the child to express his or her views freely. The resolution also called for cooperation amongst the international community and countries of the world to ensure the economic and social well-being of children, by promoting respect for their rights; the eradication of poverty, the right to education, enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the right to food.
Education in particular is one of the rights that should be equally enjoyed by all as well as an important means of developing an individual's capacity. Education also plays a vital role in reducing poverty and inequality, improving health and sanitation and promoting sustainable development. Furthermore it contributes to realizing world peace through the promotion of international and cross-cultural understanding. Based on the concept of human security, which links the three aspects of education, namely, human rights, sustainable development and world peace, the Government of Japan announced a new education cooperation policy at the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly held last month on the Millennium Development Goals. Japan also announced that it would provide assistance of 3.5 billion US dollars in the field of education over five years beginning in 2011. In addition, based on the basic education assistance model called "School for All," Japan aims to encourage coordinated efforts among schools, communities and governments for the comprehensive improvement of the learning environment. Through this contribution, Japan will help provide a quality educational environment for at least 7 million children.
Children who are caught amidst armed conflict remain the most vulnerable members of any society. Through various efforts undertaken by the international community, including the United Nations, we have seen progress reducing the number of child soldiers in some countries. The situation of children in armed conflict nevertheless remains critical. We therefore hope that more countries will become State Parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the involvement of children in armed conflict and that the articles outlined in this protocol will be implemented. As a co-sponsor of Security Council resolution 1882, we are pleased that the annexes of the report that the Secretary-General presented this year has also included reference to perpetrators of sexual violence as well as killing and maiming. It is crucial that parties that have committed violations of the rights of children be brought to justice and that the international community work as one to combat this problem. Japan also wishes to express deep concern over the attacks that have targeted educational facilities, teachers and students. We strongly hope that active discussion of serious violations of children's rights will lead to actual progress in solving such grave problems.
The right of children to survival and development is one of the convention's pillars, and must be ensured at all times and under all circumstances. However, as was also pointed out in the report of the Secretary-General submitted upon request of last year's General Assembly resolution on the rights of the child, further efforts are needed to reduce neonatal and child mortality. To contribute to the achievement of health-related MDGs, the Government of Japan announced that it would provide assistance of five billion US dollars over five years beginning in 2011. Based on the maternal and child health assistance model called "Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care (EMBRACE)", Japan will help ensure newborns and children access to appropriate preventive services and clinical care at appropriate facilities when they are in need by delivering a sequence of health services including neonatal care at facilities with adequate equipment and human resources, improved access to hospitals and immunization. Through this new assistance policy, Japan will save approximately 11.3 million children's lives, including 2.96 million newborns, in cooperation with other donors. As for mother-to-child transmission of HIV and malaria infection, which are serious problems threatening children's lives, Japan will contribute to scaling up effective interventions through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Through these efforts, Japan will contribute to the achievement of health-related MDGs and ensure a healthy future for children all over the world.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the need to acknowledge that there are children around the world living under extremely difficult conditions, and to express our firm determination therefore to continue to work collaboratively with Member States, international organizations and civil society to create a better society where children can realize their full potential and enjoy the full exercise of their rights. After all, as has often been said, children are our hope for the future.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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