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Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas
Photo: Kurdish girl. Iraq, 1997. Copyright Sebastiao Salgado/Amazonas


'A World Fit for Us'

Children call for action at the General Assembly

Children made history on 8 May 2002 when two child delegates from the Children's Forum addressed the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children in New York. It was the first time in UN history that children formally addressed the General Assembly on behalf of children.

The Special Session, which continued through 10 May, was itself a landmark, the first such Session devoted exclusively to children and the first to include them as official delegates. It was convened to review progress since the World Summit for Children in 1990 and re-energize global commitment to children's rights.

"We are the world's children," began Gabriela Azurduy Arrieta, a 13-year-old delegate from Bolivia. Together with another delegate, 17-year-old Audrey Cheynut from Monaco, she read from a statement developed over three days by 404 children and young people who attended the Children's Forum in New York 5-7 May, before participating at the Special Session itself. At the Forum, young delegates discussed issues critical to the rights and well-being of children and developed a joint call to action, 'A World Fit for Us'.

'A WORLD FIT FOR US' (extract)

We are the world's children.
We are the victims of exploitation and abuse.
We are street children.
We are the children of war.
We are the victims and orphans of HIV/AIDS.
We are denied good-quality education and health care.
We are victims of political, economic, cultural, religious and environmental discrimination.
We are children whose voices are not being heard: it is time we are taken into account.
We want a world fit for children, because a world fit for us is a world fit for everyone.

The three-day Children's Forum was an historic event that offered a unique opportunity for children and adolescents to make their voices heard from a global platform. It also allowed decision makers to experience first-hand the children's passionate and articulate views through the Children's Forum statement.

As Thomas Burke, an under-18 delegate from the United Kingdom, explained: "At the end of the Children's Forum we explicitly told governments what a world fit for all of us would look like."

Read more about children addressing the General Assembly in 'Children call for action as Special Session opens'.

Read the full text of the Children's Forum statement, 'A World Fit for Us'


Special Session home: World leaders 'Say Yes' for children
'A World Fit for Children'
Special Session highlights
Supporting events
Voices of the Special Session
Child and adolescent participation
NGO participation
Follow-up: CRC - A cornerstone
Follow-up: National Plans of Action
Follow-up: Global Movement for Children
Documentation and links
Background information