National Summit on the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
2005-11-17: The Government of Mongolia has set a new standard of open and transparent government, by being perhaps one of few governments in the Asia Pacific Region to hold a National Summit to address and assess the Implementation of the Recommendations of the United Nations Committee of the Rights of the Child.
The National Summit, held on 17 November 2005, was opened by the Prime Minister, Mr. Elbegdorj and was the culmination of a broad based collaborative process between the Government of Mongolia, civil society and the international community. In February and May respectively, two delegations from Mongolia travelled to Geneva to report to and consult with the UNCRC Committee, the first representing a wide variety of Mongolian non-governmental organisations and civil society, and the second a high level Government delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Mr.Ch Ulaan, which presented Mongolia’s Second Report to the 39th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The National Summit clearly demonstrated the value of a collaborative and consultative process. Contributions from participants were articulate, informed and to the point and the message to the Government was to take a holistic approach to children’s issues, to protect the rights of vulnerable children, to turn words into concrete actions, and to provide adequate funds for programmes.
More than 1,000 participants from international and government agencies, NGOs and civil society, including more than 220 children, considered the recommendations and observations made by the UN CRC Committee, in response to the Mongolian Government’s second report under the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
The major recommendations which emerged from the Summit include measures to creating a protective environment for children with supportive laws and legislations; to make schools child-friendly with child-centered learning environment and free from violence and corporal punishment; to make the justice system conform to the CRC and the relevant UN protocols on juvenile justice; to institutionalize child and youth participation through a national policy which would create an enabling environment for participation of children from all walks of life; to address malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency control of children and adolescent girls and prevention of STI/HIV/AIDS, which is an emerging problem in Mongolia.
Prior to the National Summit more than 4,000 participants from all sectors, were invited to participate in consultative groups to make recommendations in five topic areas: Child and Youth Participation, Education and Development for Children, Survival of Children, Protection and Care of Children, Legal Environment for children’s protection. The resulting recommendations were presented at the National Summit by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Ch Ulaan, Vice-Chairman of the National Council for Children.
During the five days immediately preceding the National Summit, the National Authority for Children, in collaboration with World Vision, held a five day Children’s Summit, during which 220 children, from 21 aimags, consulted on the observations of the UN CRC Committee. The children’s recommendations in the five topic areas, which were presented to the National Summit by Naranchimeg (14), emphasised the need to focus on protecting the rights of vulnerable children and minority groups - children with disabilities, unsupervised children, children from ethnic minorities, working children and children in detention or police custody.
Due to unforeseen scheduling difficulties it was not possible for the Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Mr. J.E. Doek, to attend the Summit. His statement was presented by Ms Pratibha Mehta, the UN Resident Coordinator, and drew attention to specific issues of concern, including the need for improved legislation, programmes and services to prevent and protect children from violence and abuse in the home, and to ensure that child victims of domestic violence receive adequate assistance in bringing perpetrators to justice and in the recovery from abuse.
The Committee stressed the need to ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect children from sexual exploitation and trafficking, to protect children working in domestic and rural sectors, particularly children working in mines, which is specifically prohibited under international labour and human rights conventions which Mongolia has signed.
Mr. Richard Prado, the Resident Representative of UNICEF Mongolia, emphasised that the Summit was a clear indication of the sincere commitment which the Mongolian Government has towards fulfilling the rights of children in Mongolia, and to following a transparent and accountable process in reflecting on the progress that is being made in the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. He stressed the need to ensure that a regular monitoring system be developed to track progress of implementation of these important recommendations.
It was clear from all subsequent speeches, that there was a shared vision and a commitment among the participants to focus on protecting the rights of all children, specifically the most vulnerable. Fourteen year old Naranchimeg’s impassioned call for action rather than words, and her challenge to the government was echoed by both keynote speakers and speakers from the floor, all of whom stressed the need for the Government to provide adequate funding to implement the laws and policies which are in place.