December 16, 2017

Statement by the Representative of Cyprus to the 3rd Committee Mr. Demetris Hadjiargyrou on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Children

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset I would like to express the disappointment of my delegation at the postponement of the 27th special session of the General Assembly on children due to the reprehensible acts of terrorism inflicted upon the United States and New York in particular. We condemn these attacks unreservedly. We look forward to the speedy reconvening at the earliest possible date since we consider its realization as yet another important step forward in our common endeavor to further expand and promote the rights of children.I would like to express our appreciation to the Secretary General for all his efforts in the area of promotion of the rights of children and particularly welcome the various reports, which we have in front of us. With respect to the considerable work that has already been completed in the preparatory process for the special session, I take the opportunity to express our appreciation to the Bureau and in particular Ambassador Durrant for the exceptional manner in which she guided the negotiations. The invaluable support extended by UNICEF is also greatly appreciated.

My delegation has aligned itself with the statement presented earlier in the debate by the representative of Belgium on behalf of the European Union. I will, therefore, limit my remarks to the situation of children in Cyprus and to the actions and policies of my government.

Mr. Chairman,

The Republic of Cyprus, since its independence, has adopted and consistently pursued a policy of active promotion and protection of the rights of the child. Cyprus has ratified the major international instruments for the protection and development of children without any reservations. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, according to our constitution, has superior force to any domestic law and its provisions have been involved in court proceedings and affected the outcome of such cases. Cyprus has been one of the first countries to end corporal punishment.

Existing national legislation is extensive and effective. The legislative framework includes, the Children’s and Young Persons Law of 1990, the Violence in the Family Law of 1994, the Parents and Children Relations Law of 1990 and the Adoption Law of 1995. Furthermore we are constantly reviewing the national legal framework in order to reach full conformity with the Convention and bring existing national legislation in line with the acquis communautaire of the European Union. In this respect we have established a Central Committee for Monitoring the Implementation of the Convention which in cooperation with non-governmental organizations is engaged in increasing public awareness on the rights of the child. In addition, comprehensive programs and services for the welfare of children have been strengthened while we are also pursuing a more systematic collection of data in the field.

Our desire to create a better world for all vulnerable groups in society, including children, is reflected in State expenditure for the implementation of social programmes, which constitutes 33% of the total public expenditure (1998). Recognizing the importance of joint action for the promotion of social development, the Government works in partnership with NGOs and Local Community Councils by providing technical assistance and annual grants for the operation of social programmes and services. Last year (2000), 38% of State grants were directed at children’s programmes run by the voluntary sector.

Mr. Chairman,

Although the efforts of Cyprus have been considerable there is still room for improvement in the situation of children in Cyprus. On the basis of our experience from monitoring the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in line with positive international trends concerning children, we are currently focusing on improving:

. The co-ordination of children’s policies and programmes at the governmental, non-governmental and private levels,

 

· The systematic collection of data on children,

 

· The updating of legislation and administrative procedures ensuring children’s participation in decisions which concern them, and

 

· Raising public awareness of children’s participatory rights.

These goals have been incorporated in a National Plan of Action for Children, covering the period 2000-2004, which was prepared in close collaboration with all sectors of society involved with children’s issues, from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors.

Before concluding Mr. Chairman, there is one area, for which we strongly believe the international community should intensify its efforts. This concerns the issue of the expanding use of child labour, a matter of worldwide concern. My government welcomes, in this respect, the adoption and ratification by 100 countries of the International Labour Organization Convention 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the creation in 1999 of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).

Thank you.