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Item 1: Statement on L.25, Rights of the Child

JOINT STATEMENT by Iceland on behalf of Australia, Canada, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Norway, 24 March 2017

Mr. President

I have the honour to speak on behalf of Australia, Canada, Lichtenstein, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland and my own country Iceland, following the adoption of resolution L/25 on the rights of the child.

We reaffirm our strong support to the mandate of the special rapporteur along with our strong commitment in implementing the 2030 Agenda through a right-based approach.

Mr. President,

Too many children continue to have their human rights violated as they face discrimination and different forms of violence. The resolution lists some sobering facts, including that the risk of maternal mortality is highest for teenage girls under 15 years of age and that more than 720 million girls and women are subjected to child, early and forced marriage.

These are the facts.

Yet the same resolution is silent on the fundamental importance of sexual and reproductive health and rights, as a priority to address these challenges.

It also fails to mention the necessity to educate and empower children through comprehensive sexuality education that can enable them to make decisions about their sexuality, health and lives.

While girls all over the world are dying, the international community needs to recognize that such rights are fundamental to preventing maternal deaths, HIV infections and early pregnancies.

Further, while recognizing that OP21(b) includes a reference to maternal mortality and to the "highest enjoyment of physical and mental health" we note that these terms must be understood in accordance to the CRC as per General Comment No. 20 and ICESCR Committee as per General Comment No. 22.

Mr. President,

Although we understand that there are sensitivities around these issues, we are of the firm opinion that omitting them cannot be the solution.

If we are to bring positive change to the lives of children, the content of the resolution needs to live up to the importance of its cause and to recognize that children are individual rights-holders.

We are committed to finding a long-term solution with all partners and to advancing this important issue.

Thank you.