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Achieving children’s rights through legislative reform

NEW YORK, 18 November 2008 – Today in New York, UNICEF is bringing together experts, academics, parliamentarians and representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies for a two-day conference on how to make legal systems work to achieve children’s and women’s rights.

“The right laws and policies, properly resourced, implemented and enforced, are an essential foundation for protecting children from violence, and promoting their survival, education and development,” says Liz Gibbons, UNICEF’s Associate Director for Gender, Rights and Civic Engagement Section. “Enacting legislation to eliminate inequalities is at the heart of gender equality and the empowerment of women, without which the world cannot meet the promises it made in the Millennium Development Goals.” 

Together, these experts will work to help lawyers, lawmakers and those who enforce the law to better understand how international and regional human rights standards can be made a reality for children and women.

The conference is part of a long-term initiative by UNICEF and partners to help governments adopt legislative and policy frameworks that comply with their international treaty commitments.

Over the last decade, UNICEF has worked in numerous countries to help harmonize national legislation and legal systems with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which requires ratifying states to take all the measures necessary to implement the social, civil, cultural, economic and political rights that it recognizes.

Through panel discussions and expert presentations, participants at the conference will share the work they have done to promote children’s rights. The first day will focus on the experiences of United Nations agencies, academic institutions, human rights organizations and parliaments in pushing for legislative reform to achieve human rights. The second day will feature panel discussions on:

• Promising approaches to achieve children’s rights;
• Advancing the human rights relationship between women and children through legislative reform; and
• The enforcement and implementation of legislation.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, +1-212-326-7162, nmekki@unicef.org





18 November 2008:
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman discusses the role of the UN in protecting the human rights of women and children, especially disabled children.
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