Statement by H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh at the General Debate of the Third Committee of the 74th Session of the UNGA on Agenda Item 66: Promotion and protection of the rights of children on 10 October 2019 at UNHQ, New York
Bangladesh’s commitment to promote and protect the rights of children remains unflinching. That the birthday of our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is observed in our country as National Children’s Day is a unique manifestation of the importance, he and we all, attached to rights of children. Our national plans and actions for children are guided by our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh is among the early ratifying countries of various important UN and international instruments pertaining to child rights. We have put in place necessary domestic acts and policies to fulfill our international obligations. We firmly deal with any form of child abuse. In our capacity as current members of the Human Rights Council and the Executive Board of UNICEF, we shall continue to uphold the rights of children.
Bangladesh believes that rights of the child can be best protected by ensuring their education and healthcare. Having attained children related MDGs, we are now poised to fulfil related goals and targets of Agenda 2030.
After successfully achieving gender parity and cent present enrolment at school level, we are now focusing on enhancing the quality of education with emphasis on e-learning, and qualified teachers. Since 2010, we have ensured that upto grade 10, children get new textbooks at school on the New Year’s Day free of cost. 352.20 million books were distributed in 2019 alone which is the biggest such undertaking in the world. 2.3 million students were awarded scholarships. 12.3 million mothers are receiving stipends for their children through mobile phone. We have continued to improve school infrastructure, their toilet and clean water facilities, meal programme etc. which have started to show results. Our school drop-out rate has gone down from 50% to 18%.
In recognition of our government’s continued efforts in skill development of our youths including in ICT and to prepare them for the 4IR, our Prime Minister has recently been awarded with “Champion of Skill Development for Youth” by UNICEF.
The last one decade has brought significant improvements in child health in Bangladesh. This has been possible due to adoption of a more holistic and sector-wide approach. Our child health programmes promote the rights of children beginning from birth. We have achieved high success in immunization. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister has received “Vaccination Hero” award during this high-level week from GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccination) and WHO in recognition of this.
We have created an extensive network of 18,000 community clinics and Union Health Centers to bring the entire population under health coverage. These centers provide 30 different types of medicine free of cost and free primary health services to the rural people, 80% of whom are women and children. Maternal, infant and child mortalities, malnutrition, stunting, low weight, all are continuously reducing because of these actions.
We are giving due attention to the education and health needs of children with disabilities so that no one is left behind. We partner with the UN in organizing “World Autism Awareness Day” in April every year with particular focus on children.
We urge upon the international community to complement the efforts of developing countries by providing technical and financial assistance to cater to the needs of children.
In this connection, we cannot but mention the plight of more than a million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals now living in camps inside Bangladesh. According to UN estimates, 60% percent of them are children. Our government with the support of international community, is addressing their initial health care, education and other welfare needs. Our main objective is to see how these Rohingya children can realize their full potential. This is possible with their safe, secured, voluntary and sustained return to their motherland.
My delegation takes note of the reports of the Secretary-General and various mandate holders sharing their insights on improving the rights of children.
As the 30th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is approaching, we must utilize this occasion not only to exemplify but also put to action our collective commitment to promote and protect rights of children all over the world.
I thank you.