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(02/5/10) Children’s Forum Message

2003.06.18
■ Children’s Forum Message A WORLD FIT FOR US We are the world’s children. We are the victims of exploitation and abuse. We are street children. We are the children of war. We are the victims and orphans of HIV/AIDS. We are denied good-quality education and health care. We are victims of political, economic, cultural, religious and environmental discrimination. We are children whose voices are not being heard: it is time we are taken into account. We want a world fit for children, because a world fit for us is a world fit for everyone. In this world, We see respect for the rights of the child: ? governments and adults having a real and effective commitment to the principle of children’s rights and applying the Convention on the Rights of the Child to all children, ? safe, secure and healthy environments for children in families, communities, and nations. We see an end to exploitation, abuse and violence: ? laws that protect children from exploitation and abuse being implemented and respected by all, ? centres and programmes that help to rebuild the lives of victimized children. We see an end to war: ? world leaders resolving conflict through peaceful dialogue instead of by using force, ? child refugees and child victims of war protected in every way and having the same opportunities as all other children, ? disarmament, elimination of the arms trade and an end to the use of child soldiers. We see the provision of health care: ? affordable and accessible life-saving drugs and treatment for all children, ? strong and accountable partnerships established among all to promote better health for children. We see the eradication of HIV/AIDS: ? educational systems that include HIV prevention programmes, ? free testing and counselling centres, ? information about HIV/AIDS freely available to the public, ? orphans of AIDS and children living with HIV/AIDS cared for and enjoying the same opportunities as all other children. We see the protection of the environment: ? conservation and rescue of natural resources, ? awareness of the need to live in environments that are healthy and favourable to our development, ? accessible surroundings for children with special needs. We see an end to the vicious cycle of poverty: ? anti-poverty committees that bring about transparency in expenditure and give attention to the needs of all children, ? cancellation of the debt that impedes progress for children. We see the provision of education: ? equal opportunities and access to quality education that is free and compulsory, ? school environments in which children feel happy about learning, ? education for life that goes beyond the academic and includes lessons in understanding, human rights, peace, acceptance and active citizenship. We see the active participation of children: ? raised awareness and respect among people of all ages about every child’s right to full and meaningful participation, in the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ? children actively involved in decision-making at all levels and in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating all matters affecting the rights of the child. We pledge an equal partnership in this fight for children’s rights. And while we promise to support the actions you take on behalf of children, we also ask for your commitment and support in the actions we are taking ? because the children of the world are misunderstood. We are not the sources of problems; we are the resources that are needed to solve them. We are not expenses; we are investments. We are not just young people; we are people and citizens of this world. Until others accept their responsibility to us, we will fight for our rights. We have the will, the knowledge, the sensitivity and the dedication. We promise that as adults we will defend children’s rights with the same passion that we have now as children. We promise to treat each other with dignity and respect. We promise to be open and sensitive to our differences. We are the children of the world, and despite our different backgrounds, we share a common reality. We are united by our struggle to make the world a better place for all. You call us the future, but we are also the present. Meeting of Under-18 Delegates to the United Nations Special Session on Children New York 5-7 May 2002future, but we are also the present. -------------------------- ■ Children Issue Statement To World Leaders at the UN ‘We Are Not An Expense, We Are An Investment ? We Are Citizens of This World’ NEW YORK, 10 May 2002 ? Declaring that “we want a world fit for children, because a world fit for us is fit for everyone,” young people from more than 100 nations sent a powerful message to world leaders gathered at the United Nations Special Session on Children this week. After three days of discussion and debate that ended Tuesday evening, nearly 400 young people taking part in the offical Children’s Forum unanimously agreed to a 700-word message to world leaders. The statement was delivered at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday morning, in the first hour of the GA’s Special Session on Children. It was the first time children had ever addressed the UN General Assembly on a substantive issue. Two young delegates to the Children’s Forum were chosen by their peers to deliver the statement: Gabriela Azurduy Arrieta, 13, from Bolivia, and Audrey Cheynut, 17, from Monaco. UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy was visibly moved by the work the young delegates put into their statement, and their resolve and dignity in presenting it to world leaders. “I believe that for the first time in the history of the United Nations, children are not just being seen ? they are being heard,” Bellamy said. “The young people have not only been eloquent, they have taken responsibility and shown incredible commitment. I hope it serves to inspire the leaders attending this conference.” Some 60 summit-level leaders are in attendance at the Special Session, part of more than 180 high-level government delegations. More than 3,000 non-government delegates are also taking part, all of them concerned about children and nearly half of them from the developing world, where children face the greatest challenges to survival, health, education and well-being. “We are not the sources of problems; we are the resources that are needed to solve them,” the children said in their statement. “We are not expenses; we are investments. We are not just young people; we are people and citizens of this world. You call us the future. But we are also the present.” Government delegations at the Special Session are reviewing progress made toward global goals for children that were set in 1990. They are also expected to agree to a new set of goals for the next decade. * * * Read the full statement issued by children at www.unicef.org Photos of the children are also available.
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