Statement by Ms. Shiruzimath Sameer, Representative of the Maldives Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly 69th Session,
High-Level Meeting on the Occasion of the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Thank you, Mr. President.
The Maldives joins the chorus celebrating the progress made to protect humanity's most precious assets—our children. The adoption of the CRC 25 years ago was a landmark moment. The near universal ratification of CRC, is the ultimate testament to the global acceptance of the rights of children and responsibilities towards children that we bear.
The Maldives has been an active participant in the development of the CRC framework throughout its history. While there are, regrettably, some notable exceptions to the list of parties, the Maldives is pleased to have joined both the CRC and its two Optional Protocols. Also, the Maldives was a lead negotiator of, and one of the first signatories to, the Third Optional Protocol to the CRC. We understand that the CRC puts the responsibility to protect and promote children's rights squarely on the shoulders of Governments and, as such, we take our obligations under the Convention very seriously.
Since the CRC was adopted, there have been gradual, global improvements in children's standard of living, sanitation, health and nutrition. Yet, there is still a way to go: the children of today are particularly vulnerable to war, poverty, natural disasters, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, trafficking, and worsening climate change.
For the Maldives, the greatest threat to our children's future is climate change. Children and youth account for 44% of the population of the Maldives. As global emissions continue to rise, it is these younger generations who will suffer the most. We must not forget that the protection of children's rights – including rights to health, education, food, safe drinking water, an adequate standard of living, and, indeed, a viable future – are inextricably linked to our global efforts to protect the climate. In the next 25 years, the State responsibilities conveyed by the CRC will be rendered meaningless unless States take substantial actions to halt runaway climate change in its tracks.
With this in mind, we must ask ourselves: what can we do to safeguard our children's future? The advancement of humankind will be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable, voiceless and invisible people in society. On this notable anniversary, we must question whether the children of the world are better off today—and commit to ensuring they are better off tomorrow.