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Annual high-level mainstreaming panel Theme: 30 years of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: challenges and opportunities, 24 February 2020

43rd session of the Human Rights Council

Intervention by the Nordic – Baltic States

delivered by H.E. Andrius Krivas, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva

 

Madam President,

Distinguished panelists,

I have the honour to deliver this intervention on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Sweden and my own country Lithuania.

We would like to thank the panelists for sharing their views on the current challenges to implementation of the CRC and ways to address them.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child we stand in a much better place now than we did 30 years ago – we are on the right track to better educating, protecting and making our children be heard and listened to. Children and young people have better access to expressing their opinions and contributing to development of policies on matters concerning them.   

We must also admit that there is plenty of room for improvement. We welcome the pledges made by States, however, our countries believe that stronger political commitment is necessary to make sure that no child is left behind. The role of the United Nations bodies – the CRC, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Special Rapporteur – and agencies is therefore crucial in helping States to meet their obligations, hold them accountable and ensure the coherence of our joint actions.

Too many children are deprived of their liberty needlessly, kept out of school, forced into child early marriage, are victims of violence, abuse and sexual harassment. Empowering children by ensuring access to quality education is one of the key elements for a good future for the child especially the girl child and for our societies.  When a girl goes to school for seven years, she will on average marry and get her first child four years later, giving her a better chance in life. Ensuring access to secondary education also has the potential of eliminating child early and forced marriages entirely.  

Education also provides children with knowledge and tools to exercise and claim their rights. Engaging children in policy- and decision-making processes that concern them, is the key to ensuring the standards put forward by the CRC.

Bullying is an unfortunate common part of childhood, including cyberbullying among other online threats. Children and their rights are also detrimentally affected by climate change and armed conflicts. This calls for urgent action by all stakeholders, including children and civil society, both at national and international levels.

In closing, we would like to stress that the CRC constitutes the primary international standards in ensuring the rights-based approach for children. The Nordic-Baltic countries are proud to have made the CRC part of our legislation. We will continue to support and encourage others to do the same and have an impact on the rights of Every Child.