Annual Full Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child
as delivered by Luke A. Falcon Snapp
UN Human Rights Council, 37th Session
Geneva, March 6, 2018
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States supports efforts to prioritize the needs of children in humanitarian situations. Children are the agents of change, and each day we are reminded that every young person is a key driver of prosperity and freedom.
Humanitarian crises demonstrate the urgency of investing in young persons and of prioritizing the needs of children in disaster and conflict situations. Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children live in countries affected by humanitarian crises. As OHCHR’s report on the Rights of the Child notes, children are especially vulnerable to abuses committed in the context of humanitarian situations. When these crises occur, children are displaced, even separated from their families. Barriers to healthcare and education are introduced, leaving children vulnerable to abduction, trafficking in persons [including forced labor and commercial sex], unlawful recruitment by armed groups, and other forms of exploitation. [The United States is greatly concerned with the disproportionate effect of armed conflict and humanitarian crises on children and supports efforts to protect them from harm].
The United States supports UNICEF in its dedicated efforts to improve the lives of children around the globe and to address systemic challenges, such as the persistent lack of education opportunities for conflict-affected children and youth. We encourage a coordinated UN-approach to addressing the many challenges the world’s children face amidst conflict and disaster.
The United States strives to empower children in humanitarian situations by creating safe and protective environments, ensuring access to essential services, working with caregivers, supporting national efforts, and increasing children’s participation in issues affecting their lives. We will continue to work with young persons wherever they are, and to encourage them as full partners in our efforts to foster sustained and inclusive economic growth and promote resilient, democratic societies.
The United States will continue to raise our voice to call attention to the horrors faced by children around the world like those in Syria, where human rights organizations report that more than 26,000 children have been killed since 2011. Those responsible for the deaths of innocent children and those that shield them from accountability must be called out. The children of the world deserve better than this. No nation can unilaterally alleviate human suffering, but just because we cannot help everyone does not mean that we should stop trying.