Model UN UNICEF and AUNA mark 1 June
Dear children, representatives of the ministries, non-governmental organisations and media,
I am happy that we are celebrating the International Child Protection Day by addressing and discussing the most pressing problems that children are facing today.
Globally millions of children are suffering from child poverty, child trafficking and many are still deprived of the right to go to school. Problems like those I have mentioned erode childhood, strip children of their basic rights embedded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Eight years ago at the UN General Assembly governments adopted a Declaration called World Fit for Children through which they made a set of commitments to improve the lives of children in the world. The governments said then that if the world they are striving to create will be fit for children, it will be fit for all. The World Fit for Children was an idea and a vision to which children also contributed a lot. Participation of children in shaping this vision was of utmost importance as it turned children into active agents of change.
Today after eight years we again turn to the Declaration of the World Fit for Children. The world we see today has changed and improved in many ways, however millions of children are still living in conditions that are far from even a resemblance of the world that we all dream to have for children.
Governments, of course, do bear primary responsibility for accomplishment of children’s rights, as well as communities where those children live and parents. However, if children themselves do not speak out for their rights, if they remain passive holders of their rights and not active right claimers, hardly any government, community, or parent will be able to properly consider children’s needs and aspirations.
I am particularly excited over the fact that serious problems such as child poverty, education for all and child trafficking will be discussed today by children, and a resolution made today will be those drafted and agreed upon by children. Today’s exercise is one of many for you to demonstrate your skills in communication, negotiation and consensus building. It is what you need to become active citizens for development, not just now but for the future as well.
You, children of the 21st century, should actively engage in social movements, use every opportunity, every platform to raise your voice for your rights and for the rights of those children who are not provided with the same opportunities as you.
We hope that together with children in Armenia, we can come up with systematic mechanisms for children to voice their views in matters affecting them, and to create the grounds for them to be heard and actions taken to address their concerns.
Good luck. Thank you.