September 24, 2014

UNICEF lauds commitment to child rights by World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Written by UNICEF

NEW YORK, 23 September 2014 – As the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples concluded today in New York, UNICEF said the commitment to children’s rights in the outcome document signified a major step forward for indigenous children.

“From the emphasis on the rights of every child to enjoy his or her culture, to the increased efforts to prevent violence and discrimination against indigenous peoples, including children, this will have a far-reaching effect on communities around the world,” said Susana Sottoli, Associate Director of Programmes for UNICEF.

As the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child approaches, the organization said the outcome document’s insistence on upholding the rights of all indigenous children was in keeping with the spirit and intent of the CRC.

For UNICEF, the outcome document’s emphasis on the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against indigenous peoples is especially welcome, as is the impetus to empower and build capacity in youth and young people. The document calls for the full and effective involvement of indigenous young people in the decision making processes of matters that affect them, in keeping with UNICEF’s stance on child participation.

“The outcome document’s focus on the participation of indigenous peoples in the United Nations is another positive step which UNICEF strongly endorses,” said Sottoli. “This will be key to the follow-up of the outcome document, and will also enhance other critical processes, such as the ongoing negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda.”

Of particular significance is the proposal that the Secretary-General develop a system-wide action plan towards achieving the aims of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. UNICEF will contribute to this action plan, both as a member the UN’s Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership, and through its regular programmes.

UNICEF strongly reaffirmed its commitment to drive change on the most pressing challenges confronting indigenous children, including the implementation of the outcome document.