Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN at the General Debate of the Third Committee of the 71th Session of the UNGA on ‘Promotion and protection of the rights of children’ in New York, 14 October 2016
Thank you Madam Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen Good Afternoon At the very outset, my delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for his reports on the agenda item ‘rights of children’. Madam Chair, The international community, over the years formulated numerous conventions, established a number of international frameworks in order to protect the rights of children. Time-bound targets were set for the improvement of the lives of millions of children. These global initiatives have brought many successes in promoting and protecting of rights of child, but—-there are many children in the world are deprived of basic rights and minimum services—there are thousands of children who are being sold out for the purposes of forced labour, — numerous children are subjected to sexual exploitation—millions of girls are the victims of early and forced marriage – thousands of children are facing many kinds of violation, millions of children are suffering from malnutrition, lacking of education facilities and children are being employed in the worst form of armed conflicts. Madam Chair, The constitution of Bangladesh guarantees the rights of children in our country. The Constitution has obliged to make sure — free and compulsory education to all children in the country. The Father of the Nation of our country, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had limitless adoration for the children. That is why, the birth day of our Father of the Nation, 17 March, has been declared as the National Children’s Day in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the first countries to ratify the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1990. Bangladesh has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, adopted in 2006 that ensures the rights of disabled children. Bangladesh is also a party to ILO convention ‘ Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst form of Child Labour ( No-182).
The Children Act, 2013 is the principal instrument for establishing child rights in Bangladesh. The fundamental principle of this act is to ensure child rights in the light of the constitution of Bangladesh, child act and international charters/conventions.
Madam Chair, Bangladesh believes that rights of the child can best be protected through education. At the national level, we have a comprehensive Education Policy 2010 for ensuring education for all Children. A “Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust Fund Act 2011” was enacted to ensure education for the poor meritorious students. The Free Girls’ education in the primary and secondary level and introduction of stipend programmes for girls, have contributed to achieving gender parity in primary and secondary education. Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina distributed Braille Book among the visually challenged children on 1st January 2016 .
A new Child Marriage Restraint Act has been drafted with pragmatic provisions to prevent child marriage. National Toll Free Helpline plays a big role to stops child marriage and sexual harassment. One -Stop Crisis Centres are already in operation to provide required services for children, victims of violence. Bangladesh has adopted a five years action plan for reduction of child labour. Madam Chair, Bangladesh welcomes the observance of the International day of girls child which falls on 11 October with the theme of this year ‘Girls Progress- Goals Progress. What count for girls’ through which member states have renewed their commitment to implement the potential of the SDGs for Girls. Bangladesh feels that it is our sacred duty, as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Child, to ensure that all children should enjoy special protection from any form of aggression. We commend the Secretary General’s initiative ‘Children are not soldiers campaign’ with a view to protecting children from arm conflicts. We urge all concerned to reaffirm their commitment to put an end to sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
There are approximately 65 million refugees in the world, many of them are children. Forced migration of millions of children has compelled them to take shelter out of their homes. Bangladesh urges all concerned to ensure the most basic rights, guaranteed in international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular by the Convention on the Rights of the Child to these migrant children.
Unless the international community could provide adequate support, services and programs for children and ensure their basic rights, these children will have no chance of achieving the targets of SDGs. Therefore, it should be our common and collective responsibility to build a world, where no child should be left behind to enjoy their rights, irrespective of their status.
I thank you Madam Chair.