Ms. Grata Endah Werdaningtyas
Permanent Mission of the
Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
Agenda Item 65:
“Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children”
New York, 15 October 2009
Let me begin by thanking the Secretary-General for his reports underlining progress and concerns on children and the recommendations contained therein. Likewise, I extend my appreciation to the Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and other distinguished speakers for highlighting the major issues before the Committee yesterday.
Indonesia delegation wishes to associates itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished delegate of Sudan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
This year marks two decades of our common efforts to ensure that the rights of children worldwide are met. To safeguard the future, we need to stand behind our commitment to give every child their rights as envisioned in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Yet last year alone, 9 million children lost their lives early; over 200 million suffer impairment due to lack of nutrition and health care, and 75 million meet numerous challenges getting enrolled in primary school.
As if these numbers are not sobering enough, armed conflict, violence, exploitation and discrimination continue to damage children’s well being.
If we wish, remedies exist for overcoming those challenges faced by children. It is therefore necessary not only to renew our commitment to meet the rights of children, but to also urgently mobilize concrete and practical action. In this regard, it is vital to adopt a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of the threats that affect children worldwide.
In view of the ten year review on the Millennium Development Goals next year, let us take the opportunity to continue improving the health, welfare, and future hopes of children around the world, through the framework set in “A world fit for children”.
In the immediate period, there is the need to respond to the impacts of the global financial crisis to the well being of children. In current conditions, declining or lost incomes are failing to meet household nutritional needs, which are fundamental to child survival. Programs should be developed to effectively promote and provide good nutrition while also combating malnutrition and its crippling effects.
In the medium to long term, we should not lose sight of the fact that children’s rights are synonymous with the advancement of women. As much as we need to invest in children’s future, we need to focus on their caregivers. Healthy mothers can ensure healthy children by ensuring timely vaccinations, preventing HIV/AIDS, protection against abuse and violence and providing a clean physical environment. Moreover, meeting international commitments related to women and the girl child are vital for building equitable growth and sustained progress beyond the MDGs.
And let us not overlook the importance of cultivating the minds of children. Not only is education a vital tool in breaking the cycle of poverty, education is also a key to wealth creation. Essentially, education has to empower children regardless of gender by heightening their awareness of their rights and responsibilities, their abilities, and enhance their self-confidence to enable them to improve their lives.
On the issue of children and armed conflict, given their powerless condition, special attention to their plight and concerns should be given. The fate of children needs to be taken into account in any discussion, in all stages of peace processes, as with gender concerns.
Pursuant to the obligations set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Indonesia has implemented the Declaration of a World Fit for Children and National Program for Indonesian Children 2015.
The annual budget for children has steadily increased. For education in particular, the budget has risen to almost double in 2008. In fact, for the 2009 budget, in the midst of the global crisis that has impacted our economy; we have been able to meet 20 percent of the State Budget requirement for education as mandated by the constitution. The increased budget was disbursed, among other things, for the rehabilitation of school buildings and construction of tens of thousands of classrooms and new schools.
The Indonesian Government has also significantly increased its domestic resource allocation for AIDS. From 2006 to 2009 the budget allocated for HIV/AIDS rose 7 times. The provincial and district budgets also increased around 350 percent. Part of the funding is to increase public awareness on HIV/AIDS and services for prevention which is a vital measure to protect children.
In the health sector, while child mortality has been decreasing steadily, more still need to be done to promote maternal health and prevent maternal death at birth.
One of the major undertakings by the Government of Indonesia in 2006 is a pilot project called City for Children which aims at creating a safe, clean and positive environment for children. Five cities are participating in the pilot thus far and the results are expected to be used as a basis to develop a nation wide program on Cities Fit for Children.
There are also dedicated institutions that support Indonesia’s national law on child protection adopted in 2002. Police stations in cities and municipalities in Indonesia are equipped with special units for women and child protection. Every province also has Comprehensive Service Centers for Women and Child Empowerment.
Measures have been taken consistent with and beyond the provisions of ILO Convention number 182, concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor which Indonesia ratified. An independent National Commission on the Protection of Children has been established. We have enacted National Action Plans to eliminate worst forms of child labor and to eliminate exploitation of children for commercial sex.
In closing, let me reiterate the importance of a holistic approach in ensuring the rights of children. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that their health, safety and future are secured.
A healthy future begins through their mothers, thus ensuring safe motherhood is vital. Likewise children thrive in a clean environment with access to safe drinking water that is also free of water born diseases.
Lastly, part of unlocking the cycle of poverty is ensuring a continuum from early childhood development to universal attendance in primary school and beyond for boys and girls.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
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