In the Third Committee’s 13th and 14th meetings, delegates discussed the promotion and protection of children’s rights around the world by focusing on the violation of their rights in forced marriage, forced labor, and discrimination.
An introductory statement by Charles Radcliffe, the Chief of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Section of the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, highlighted the need to protect children from a variety of forms of exploitation, especially within forced marriages. As stated by Mr. Radcliffe, “One child is being forced into marriage every two seconds of every hour of every day.” Forced marriages, which affect mostly girls in their teens, have caused a variety of issues, such as an increase in rape cases and a decrease in the attendance rate of schools. By being forced into marriage, girls are sexually abused to the point that they become pregnant. Adolescent pregnancies, as a result of forced marriages, have led to an increase in maternal mortality rates. To address this issue, nations, such as Zimbabwe, have adopted policies to eradicate child marriages and protect those children who are already married.
Over five million children worldwide are forced to work in a variety of settings, with a larger portion being girls. Girls are mostly forced into prostitution, where they become vulnerable to exploitation and have very few chances to escape, leading to severe psychological issues. Boys are mostly forced to become soldiers. In nations like Syria, they are abducted to become members of terrorist organizations. Brainwashing young boys by forcing them to witness the death and severe abuse of innocent civilians creates a dangerous generation that harbors violence and terrorism. While prostitution and the recruitment of boys for terrorist organizations is something each nation addresses differently, the one form of forced labor nations similarly address is child labor within corporations and businesses. The issue of child labor is usually addressed by prohibiting the purchase of any products from businesses that force children to work for them.
Twenty-eight million children have fled their home countries in search for a safer area to reside. These children are branded as unwanted refugees or immigrants, forcing them to be detained for wanting to live safer lives. The lack of attention they have gotten has become a growing problem, with no access to an education, health care, or safe environment to live in. They become more vulnerable to all forms of abuse and sexual exploitation. To address this issue, nations, like those within the European Union, aim to seek alternatives to the detention of children to provide them with the attention they need.
Children being forced into all of these situations ultimately leave their childhoods behind. They are forced to become adults with no power over what is happening to them, showing a direct violation of their rights. Strengthening family ties and including children in the creation of policies ensures the ultimate protection of their rights. Children have a variety of rights, such as the right to a family, an education, development, none of which should be violated. As stated by Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, “If children can’t be saved, what is left for humanity?”
Meeting: Third Committee 13th and 14th Meetings on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children
Date/Location: Thursday, October 13th, 2016; 10:00 to 13:00 & 15:00 to 18:00; Conference Room 1
Speakers: Charles Radcliffe, Chief of the Equality and Non-Discrimination Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Chair of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC); Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography; Mildred Guzmán Madera, Ambassador of the Dominican Republic; Abdallah Wafy, Permanent Representative of Niger; Keith Hamilton Llewellyn Marshall, Permanent Representative of Barbados; Hau Do Suan, Permanent Representative of Myanmar; Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe; Joanne Adamson, Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Union; Kelly L. Razzouk, Adviser for the United States of America; Fatmaalzahraa Hassan Abdelaziz Abdelkawy, Second Secretary of Egypt; Marcelo Eliseo Scappini Ricciardi, Deputy Permanent Representative of Paraguay; Anima Joubli, Delegate of Switzerland; Paweł Radomski, Deputy Permanent Representative of Poland; Mahlatse Mminele, Chargé D’Affaires of South Africa; Jessica Cupellini, First Secretary of Italy; Martín García Moritán, Permanent Representative of Argentina; Miguel Camilo Ruiz Blanco, Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia; Jorge Luis Cepero Aguilar, Second Secretary of Cuba; Kristina Sukacheva, Attaché of the Russian Federation; Maria Clarisa Goldrick, First Secretary of Nicaragua; Jasem K. S. Harari, Second Secretary of Libya; Nguyen Duy Thanh, Third Secretary of Viet Nam; Karima Bardaoui, Counsellor of Tunisia; Alex Giacomelli da Silva, Minister Plenipotentiary of Brazil; Susan Wangeci Mwangi, First Counsellor of Kenya; May-Elin Stener, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway; Amjad Qassem Agha, Second Secretary of the Syrian Arab Republic; Kathrin Nescher, Second Secretary of Liechtenstein; Madhuka Sanjaya Wickramarachchige, First Secretary of Sri Lanka; Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See; Gloria Cid Carreño, Counsellor of Chile; Tan Wee Zi, Delegate of Singapore; Ms. Halevi, Youth Delegate of Israel; Mr. Caray, Delegate of Turkey; Danijel Medan, Deputy Permanent Representative of Croatia; Ms. Garcia, Delegate of Costa Rica; Ms. Al-Khater, Delegate of Qatar; Vilatsone Visonnavong, First Secretary of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Cameron Jelinski, Counsellor of Canada; Mr. Al-Hussaini, Delegate of Iraq; Bankole Adeoye, Delegate of Nigeria; Mekdelawit Taye Alemayehu, Delegate of Ethiopia
Written By: Leticia Murillo, WIT Representative