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Deputy Secretary-General, Commemorating Anniversary of Child Rights Convention, Calls for Urgent Actions to Address Persistent, Systemic Discrimination

Following is the text of Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s message to the International Web-Forum for the Commemoration of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, held today:

It is my pleasure to provide this message to the International Web-Forum for the Commemoration of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I particularly commend the First Lady, Chair of the Trustee Board of the Zamin Foundation, and the Government of Uzbekistan and the valued partners for organizing this timely event.  It is heartening to observe the commitment of the Uzbek Government, Parliament and civil society in promoting the rights of children and of youth.

Earlier this year, the Secretary-General launched a Call to Action for Human Rights — The Highest Aspiration.  In doing so, he emphasized that “Upholding all rights of all people is in the interests of everyone.”

Enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that we commemorate today, children’s rights are, of course, central to children’s futures.  But, they are central to the here and now and to the future of our communities and countries, and to humanity itself.

Today, we honour the great gains made since the adoption of the Convention.  More children are surviving past their fifth birthdays, and more children are enrolled in school than ever before.  More children have received the vaccinations they need, and many more children have been able to access water, sanitation and hygiene services.

However, children today still face ongoing rights violations, persistent and systematic discrimination and inequalities.  Their rights are increasingly threatened by climate change, environmental degradation and by multiple ongoing humanitarian crises.  And the impacts of COVID-19 are potentially catastrophic for children — whether in terms of education, mental health, personal development or otherwise — and may be amongst the most lasting of consequences for societies.

In many areas, it is the children already most discriminated against that face the greatest challenges in realizing their rights:  girls, children with disabilities, children displaced from their homes, or children from minority groups; the 663 million children globally living in poor households where basic needs are not met; the 149 million children living in high-intensity conflict zones; the 300 million children living in urban slums and informal settlements; and the hundreds of millions of children without access to the Internet.

Addressing the inequalities these children face must be at the heart of our collective efforts.  When we take a human rights‑based approach to development, the outcomes are more sustainable, equitable, powerful and effective.  This is why human rights permeate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Our urgent attention to children’s rights, as the Convention foretold, and for all those left behind has never been more critical.  Together, let us pledge our commitment — for our children, and for our future generations.

For information media. Not an official record.