Indonesia, UNICEF and the European Union mark 20 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
JAKARTA, 20 November, 2009 — Representatives of the Government of Indonesia, UNICEF and the EU gathered in Jakarta Friday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – the most universally ratified human rights treaty in history.
H.E. Linda Gumelar, State Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, H.E. Ewa Polano, Ambassador of Sweden and holder of the EU Presidency, H.E. Julian Wilson, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission and Ms Angela Kearney, UNICEF Representative in Indonesia, spoke of collective efforts to advance the rights of Indonesian children in line with the Convention. Professor Irwanto, PhD, Chair of the Institute for Research and Community Services at Atma Jaya University made a special presentation on children's rights in Indonesia.
The event also provided the occasion for the release of two new publications focusing on child rights - a special edition of UNICEF's "State of the World's Children" report, which reviews progress for children over the last two decades, and the Bahasa Indonesia version of the global EU Guidelines on the protection and promotion of children's rights, which commit the EU to intensifying its action in this field in international forums, in its bilateral relations and through its development cooperation programmes.
H.E. Linda Gumelar stated at the event: "The Government of the Republic of Indonesia has a strong commitment to advance children's rights. At the centre of this commitment is our constitution of 1945 which clearly states the importance of children's rights. The Government of Indonesia has made significant breakthroughs to advance the children's rights as I have detailed at this commemorative event. The 'State Ministry for Women's Empowerment' has also become the 'State Ministry for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection'."
Meanwhile, H.E. Ewa Polano said: "The rights of the child are an absolute value whose realisation, more than just a worthy goal in itself, makes a crucial contribution to the global struggle against poverty and armed conflict. Moral obligation no less than self interest thus enjoins us to realise the rights of the child as enshrined in the Convention.
"H.E. Julian Wilson remarked: "All of us – government, international agencies, NGOs, media, families – have a duty and responsibility to work for the betterment of the lives of children and to ensure that the promises and potential enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child are indeed translated into a living reality for every child."
Ms Angela Kearney stated: "We have watched the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child move from birth, through childhood to adolescence and now reach early adulthood. Over those years, the inalienable rights of children have shaped policy and actions here in Indonesia and beyond, helping ensure that the world is a better place for children. The task now is to ensure that no child is left out, that disparities are narrowed, that the expectations of children are fully met, and that together we build on the progress of the last twenty years and ensure that the fundamental rights of children are reflected in every decision we make; at national, provincial and community level and in the heart of families. "