For information only - not an official document
20 November 2014
Statement of UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov on Universal Children's Day
20 November 2014
VIENNA, 19 November (UN Information Service) - We all want a world fit for children; sadly we are surrounded by depressing evidence of children made to fit our world.
Whether trafficked as commodities, abused while being smuggled, or mistreated during their contact with criminal justice systems, many children continue to suffer daily lives of cruelty, hardship and despair.
Empowering children, by lifting them out of poverty and by offering them education and future opportunities, is a crucial building block in the delivery of sustainable development in many countries.
But such bold steps, underpinned by human rights observance, can only be achieved through a strong rule of law and criminal justice systems that recognize, protect and enforce the fundamental rights of children.
At the heart of this work is the global goal of justice for children: as victims, as witnesses and as alleged offenders. This organizing principle is driven by the Convention on the Rights of the Child that stresses the need for criminal justice systems to serve as every child's guardian and protector.
UNODC calls on every country to ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
Every country should also abide by relevant human rights and criminal justice standards. In this way, the international community can assist the cause of justice and children everywhere.
The UN will hold, next April, the 13th Crime Congress in Doha. The Congress theme is integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda. This will lead to greater discussion on how criminal justice systems can help promote sustainable development, as well as the rights of children.
On Universal Children's Day, UNODC salutes the work of its partner UNICEF, and the many other UN organizations and non-governmental organizations, who work so diligently in the area of children's rights.
In its own work, UNODC will continue to offer support in the field of child justice reform, in preventing and responding to violence against children, as well as raising awareness on the rights of children before the law, among many other activities.
By doing so, we hope to ensure that the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the countries that ratify it can continue to protect vulnerable children.
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