DELEGATIONS STRESS URGENCY OF FIGHTING TRAFFICKING
IN CHILDREN, CHILD LABOUR, AS THIRD COMMITTEE
CONCLUDES REVIEW OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS
Draft Resolutions Introduced on Crime Prevention,
Drug Control, Family Issues
NEW YORK, 21 October (UN Headquarters) -- Delegates highlighted the urgency of combating child trafficking and child labour around the world as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today concluded its review of the protection and promotion of children’s rights.
Several West African delegations expressed deep concerns about the increasing incidence of child trafficking in their region and highlighted national and regional actions they had taken to fight the problem. The representative of Nigeria said her Government had enacted a law against human trafficking and had established an agency to enforce the law and promote the exchange of information on offences, including forced labour and the trafficking of children. Rehabilitation centres and transit camps had been set up to provide support services for trafficked children and to reintegrate them with their families.
The representative of Mali said his country had signed a bilateral convention with Côte d’Ivoire to combat the trafficking of children, the first agreement of its kind in Africa. Mali had also undertaken measures to eliminate the practice of child labour and had reformed the criminal code to include provisions to prohibit it.
The representative of Côte d’Ivoire said that in addition to the convention signed with Mali, his Government had also signed a transnational border agreement with Burkina Faso to combat child labour and the trafficking of children across their common border. He said the treatment of children had been especially problematic in West African countries because of protracted conflicts in the region. He emphasized that his country considered child labour a criminal activity, and it was examining the situation in the cocoa industry, among other actions it was undertaking to combat child enslavement.
In Bangladesh, significant progress had been achieved in phasing out child labour from the garment industry, said a representative of that country. Active support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had been critical in that endeavour. Bangladesh accorded special priority to the elimination of trafficking in persons, especially in children, and had adopted new laws and developed directives for law enforcement agencies to address this problem.
The representative of Mongolia pointed out that there were still 256 million children working in the world and said that the key tools in combating child labour were the provision of free and quality education and the adoption of core labour standards. Universal ratification of and compliance with the ILO Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the Minimum Age Convention were of particular importance in that regard.
The ILO Convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour had been translated into Azerbaijani with a view to submit it for ratification by the Parliament, said the representative of Azerbaijan. She added that her country was cooperating closely with UNICEF and the ILO on the elimination of child trafficking and child labour. Concern was raised regarding the areas of protracted armed conflict and post-conflict regions, which served as hotbeds for trafficking in human beings, particularly in women and children, and other illegal activities.
Other speakers highlighted concerns regarding the plight of children orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the incidence of the disease among children and teenagers, the impact of war on children and the use of children as soldiers. Delegations also stressed that children were faced with extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition and often lacked access to both education and health care.
Also today, the Committee heard the introduction of an amendment to a draft resolution on the International Year of the Family by the representative of Benin. Draft resolutions were also introduced on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme; and international drug control by the representatives of Rwanda, on behalf of the African Group, Italy, and Mexico respectively.
Also speaking today were representatives of Romania, Kuwait, Uganda, San Marino, Bahrain, Barbados (on behalf of Caribbean Community), Syria, Eritrea, Canada, Ghana, Burundi, Tunisia, Israel, Belarus, Liechtenstein, Haiti, Iceland, Jamaica, India, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, China, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Thailand.
The Observer for Palestine also addressed issues related to the promotion and protection of the rights of children.
Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Organization of the Islamic Conference also spoke.
Exercising their right of reply were the representatives of Armenia, Israel and Azerbaijan, and the Observer for Palestine.
The Committee will reconvene tomorrow, at 10 a.m., to begin its discussion of indigenous people’s rights.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian, Cultural) continued its consideration of the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
For further background information please see Press Release GA/SHC/3746 of 17 October.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
Introducing amendments (document A/C.3/58/L.12) to a draft resolution on the International Year of the Family (document A/C.3/58/L.2), the representative of Benin said the amendments would welcome the decision of Benin to host a regional preparatory conference in May 2004 in collaboration with the United Nations. The amendments were also necessary since they guaranteed the launching of the celebration of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family by the Secretary-General. Furthermore, she said the amendments would guarantee the involvement of regional organizations.
Introducing a draft resolution on strengthening the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme (document A/C.3/58/L.14), the representative of Italy said the draft included some new provisions and highlighted major developments, such as the entry into force of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The draft resolution also stressed the importance of the entry into force of the two remaining protocols to that Convention.
Finally, the representative of Mexico introduced a draft resolution on international drug control (document A/C.3/58/L.15), saying that the draft met the request formulated in this forum for simplification. Special attention had been placed at respecting the balance achieved in previous resolutions to ensure that the interest of all countries was met in the battle against drugs.
The representative of Rwanda, on behalf of the African group, introduced a draft resolution on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/C.3/58/L.13). He said the draft was identical to last year’s resolution. The African Group commended the Secretary-General for his report on this topic, and it was their hope that the draft resolution would be adopted by consensus.
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