Statement by Ms. Yaeko Sumi
Alternate Representative of Japan
Item 65 (a), (b) Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Children
67th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
18 October 2012
While we discuss the promotion and protection of the rights of the child here today in New York, how many children do you think are being exposed to unacceptably dangerous situations? Unfortunately, too many. The causes of threats to the safety and well-being of children vary significantly from violence, including abuse and crime, to child labor, sexual exploitation, poverty and recruitment into armed conflict.
The international community has built legal architecture such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child in order to protect children and tackle these issues. Furthermore, the MGDs were formulated based on the Millennium Declaration and time-bound targets were set in place to bring tangible improvements to lives of children in such areas such as education, health and sanitation.
It is dependent on the efforts of each country whether or not these mechanisms succeed and whether the international community can achieve its own targets. Many children are still forced into a life which is far from what is ideal, and we all need to make further efforts.
All our efforts notwithstanding, a new threat is emerging. As the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ms. Marta Santos Pais points out, the international community is faced with violations of the rights of children beyond national borders due to the development of information technology and globalization.
The Government of Japan has been strengthening measures and cooperation toward the prevention and elimination of trafficking in persons and the protection of victims in accordance with the spirit of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In December 2009, we revised our existing action plan and developed the ‘2009 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons’. In addition, in order to address the increasing problem of child pornography, the Government of Japan, in cooperation with the private sector, has been advancing measures to eliminate this problem based on the enacted ‘Comprehensive Measures for the Eradication of Child Pornography’. This effort aims to prevent the victimization of children, thwart circulation and access to child pornography on the internet, enable early detection and protection of the victims, and strengthen existing regulations.
Even while advancing the rights and protection of children throughout the international community, sometimes the rights of certain groups of children, especially girls and those with disabilities, who are more vulnerable members of society, are not fully respected due to complex cultural, social or economic reasons. It is crucial to make efforts at a number of levels, including families, local communities and societies as a whole, to overcome this problem. Governments should implement measures to support these efforts at multiple levels.
In this light, the Government of Japan extends support to activities at local levels: for example, home visits to every household which has infant in order to secure a sound environment for their growth and development, and local childcare support projects which provide venues to interact with caregivers and other families with infants.
If we wish for a sound future, we must build a society where children, who are the future of society, can enjoy all the rights they deserve. It is our responsibility to build a society where children can have hopes, and the Government of Japan is committed to realizing such a society in cooperation with member states, international organizations and civil society.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.