Joint EOP on WHA Resolution on Ending Violence Against Children

Joint Explanation of Position on Consensus Adoption of A74/A/CONF./8, “Ending Violence Against Children through health systems strengthening and multisectoral approaches”

Argentina is pleased to deliver this explanation of position on behalf of the following 37 Member States: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Czechia, Costa Rica*, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy*, Japan, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, South Africa*, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Vanuatu.

We take the floor to provide an explanation of position on our support for the consensus adoption of this important resolution and our shared commitment to addressing violence against children. It is in this spirit that we reluctantly agreed to withdraw a critical paragraph from the final resolution in order to not break our long-standing practice of not voting on technical issues. We remain disappointed that the similarly long-standing practice of disassociation was not employed by objecting Member States.

However, we want to take this opportunity to again reiterate our support for comprehensive sexuality education for children to realize their health, well-being and dignity, to learn how to build healthy relationships and to build communication, self-protection and risk reduction skills, as a fundamental part of efforts to prevent, recognize and respond to violence against children.

The term “comprehensive sexuality education” is based on already agreed consensus language used in other UN fora. And, we believe we must continue our discussions to evolve our language in the World Health Assembly to this evidence-based standard for the benefit of all children everywhere.

Information allows for understanding, understanding is a pathway to tolerance, and tolerance leads to acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment. We must be bold and we must act together to continue the discussions that we started during this World Health Assembly to move forward on these important issues as we build back better and meet our shared goal of ending violence against children.

Thank you.

*Co-sponsorship expressed as statement was being delivered.