UN Human Rights Council 46th Session
Item 3: Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child – The gaps and barriers affecting children: following up on commitments through the Decade of Action and delivery on the Sustainable Development Goals
Nordic-Baltic Intervention by H.E. Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi, Estonia
1 March 2021
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.
We would like to thank the panellists for their presentations and valuable insights.
The rights of the child are no doubt at the heart of the sustainable development goals. Therefore, to achieve these goals, we do need a child rights-based approach in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in all the programmes, policies and frameworks aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights instrument but still significant gaps remain in the protection and promotion of the rights of the child at the global, regional and national levels. Poverty, challenges in accessing education, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including based on gender, are just a few of the barriers faced by many children every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated and added on to the list of barriers. Rising poverty, closed schools and lockdowns make children more vulnerable to violence, abuse or exploitation. As a result of COVID-19 one expects that an additional 13 million child marriages take place that otherwise would not have occurred between 2020-2030.
As stated in the Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights the promises made in the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were explicitly to future as well as current generations. We need to recognize children as rights holders and provide them with the right tools to claim all their human rights. We also need to enable the meaningful participation of children in defining their future and their contribution to achieving the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda.
What are the best practices for meaningful engagement of children in policy processes?