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Costa Rica seeks to achieve the guarantee of all child rights by 2021: President of Costa Rica approves first Child Public Policy

Public Policy establishes four levels of action on promoting, respecting and guaranteeing child rights in the country.

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA, 9 September 2009 - As part of the celebration for the National Day of Children, the President of Costa Rica, Oscar Arias Sánchez, accompanied by Ministers, members of the National Council on Children and Child Welfare Services and a group of about 25 children, signed the country’s first Public Policy for Children and Adolescents 2009 – 2021.

President Arias inaugurated the event by addressing the children present.: “Today, we celebrate your day, the Day of Children, in a special manner: by signing the first Public Policy for Children and Adolescents in Costa Rica. Some of you might think that a document like this will not affect you…but as you see today, there are a lot of people here who believe and know that these types of documents can change lives.” The President went on to show the document’s significance by relating it to the important Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which as he said “changed generations”.

The policy will serve as Costa Rica’s long-term public policy framework to promote, fulfill and guarantee child rights.

The policy is the result of cooperation between Child Welfare Services and UNICEF. UNICEF led the consultation and drafting process with participation from members of the National Council for Children and Adolescents and civil society organizations

The President emphasized that for Costa Rica’s 200th anniversary in 2021, he hopes the country will have achieved all rights for all children, which is the overall goal of the policy.

Mario Viquez, President of Child Welfare Services and of the National Council for Children and Adolescents, stated that for the Council, the final drafting of the policy comes as great satisfaction and he personally was pleased that it was completed within the year that marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The policy seeks to guarantee the full exercise of all rights for all children, through the creation of specific conditions, mechanisms and opportunities for respecting these rights and taking into account the superior interest of children, their progressive autonomy and their participation in family, education and communities.

The Public Policy for Children and Adolescents establishes six strategic areas, each with general goals, and will be outlined within the Integrated Work Plan 2009 – 2021. The document also establishes four levels of policy which will allow for greater synergy between the different social institutions and ultimately, for better fulfillment of children’s rights. The different levels allow for the creation of universal policies, social policies targeting vulnerable and excluded groups and special protection policies for the restitution of rights for extremely vulnerable children.

“Since Costa Rica ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the country has made great progress in implementing and guaranteeing children’s rights. The signing of this Policy is another important achievement and demonstrates the will and capability of the society and the country to progress towards the goal of guaranteeing all children’s rights. We must also always remember that children have to be at the centre of these processes. Children are more aware of the problems and issues that affect them and they have proved to be capable of proposing new strategies that work,” emphasized Seija Toro, Representative of UNICEF Costa Rica.

Immediate Actions
“The National Policy for Children and Adolescents is the result of an effort of dozens of people, and should serve as a guide for thousands more. Nothing will have been achieved if the Policy is placed in book shelves in libraries or desk drawers. Its place is in the schools, on the sports fields, in doctors’ offices and hospitals; it belongs to all government offices and in every home of our country. Its words are not only to be read, but they are to be fulfilled,” said Mr. Viquez, as he closed his inaugural speech.

For additional information, please contact: 
Michael Martin, Communication and Partnerships,
Tel + 506 2296 2034 ext. 1130. Mobile + 506 8875 6359;
Email: mimartin@unicef.org




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