Statement by Dr. Atsuko Heshiki
Alternate Representative of Japan
Item 65: Promotion and protection of the rights of children
66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
13 October 2011
It is a responsibility of the international community at large to make further efforts to achieve a world where children everywhere, who are the future of society, can have a dynamic, promising, and healthy childhood free from threats against their lives or dignity.
A number of children, however, have been threatened by various causes including poverty, diseases, recruitment in armed conflict, sexual exploitation, child labor, daily violence such as abuse, and crimes. Many children have been exposed to danger under armed conflict and in this regard, the Government of Japan, as a co-sponsor, welcomes the adoption of Security Council resolution 1998 which aims to deter attacks against schools and hospitals. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and its two Optional Protocols are the major mechanisms with which to respect and protect the rights of the child in the international community. The Government of Japan will make further efforts to strengthen and implement these conventions and protocols. A domestic legal framework is indispensable in the protection and promotion of the rights of the child, and the Government of Japan hopes that more countries will ratify the convention and its protocols. With the knowledge and experiences attained through the implementation of the convention, the Government of Japan will advance its cooperation in the international community in order for children to enjoy their rights to live in safe, healthy environments free from discrimination.
In order to tackle a number of threats against children, the Government of Japan has been making rigorous efforts to achieve the MDGs. At the MDGs UN Summit in 2010, the Government of Japan announced a new policy including a financial commitment to provide 8.5 billion US dollars over 5 years, beginning in 2011, to support those health and education sectors whose progress has been slow. The Government of Japan will provide assistance through a maternal and child health support model called ‘EMBRACE’, which ensures a continuum of care from pregnancy to after childbirth, as well as a basic education support model called ‘School for All’, which aims to improve the comprehensive learning environment. Through the assistance given with these models, the Government of Japan continues to contribute to ensure human security for children.
Apart from domestic efforts, international cooperation is indispensable in protecting children from international threats and crimes such as the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. In this regard, the Government of Japan appreciates the studies and research activities conducted by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. The Government of Japan adopted the ‘2009 Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons’ in December 2009 and has made comprehensive efforts in the prevention and elimination of human trafficking and protection of victims. The rapid expansion of IT systems in society has posed another grave threat to children, with regards to the increase of child pornography. The Government of Japan adopted the ‘Comprehensive Measures to Eliminate Child Pornography’ in 2010 and has been making efforts to achieve the elimination of child pornography. As to the domestic efforts to tackle child abuse, the Government of Japan has been taking proactive measures to prevent, identify and tackle child abuse at an early stage and to protect the rights and benefits of the child through, but not limited to, the amendment of domestic laws. One example is an amendment in 2011 of the Civil Code that introduces a system to suspend parents’ rights for a case of serious child abuse and authorizes the appointment of a corporate body or multiple guardians for a child.
Given that there are children who live under difficult conditions in every country in the world, the Government of Japan will continuously cooperate with member states, international organizations and civil society to create an environment where children, the future of our society, enjoy their rights and fly high in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.