"If you're not
beguiling by age twelve, forget it." Lucy (Charles Schulz)
WORLD LEADERS FOCUS ON CHILDREN
Over 70 Heads of State addressed the United Nations Special Session on Children
earlier this month. Here are excerpts from some of their statements:
The President of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen: "Children must have the right
to a safe childhood. Its most important elements are love and care. Children,
girls as well as boys, must have the right to enjoy their childhood. Children
must have the right to receive instruction, gain knowledge and learn skills for
adulthood. I would particularly emphasize education for girls. Often it is not
considered as important as the education for boys or is denied in practice because
of household chores or other responsibilities."
President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic: "Let me ask you a question.
When you remember the thousands, the tens and hundreds of thousands of children
beggars, labourers, fighters, children who are victims of family violence and
sexual abuse, can you say, do you have the courage to say: we are doing everything
we can , and this world cannot be better than it is, not even for children? I
cannot say that, nor dare I say it. I am convinced taht this world can and must
be better for the children!
"Let me ask you another question. When you face information on how many children
lack the slightest chance to reach adulthood because they will die of hunger or
otherwise curable diseases -- incurable for these children because drugs will
never reach them -- or on how many children have no opportunity to attend school
and learn at least the essentials, will you have the courage to say: we have done
everything that could be done, and we cannot do better in the present-day world;
not even for the children? I do not dare say it. I have absolutely no doubt that
this world not only must but also can be better -- primarily for the children."
President of Zambia, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa: "As we assemble to deliberate
on the future of the world's children in this great city of New York, let us remember
the irony that makes this meeting particularly challenging. We know too well after
the dreadful events of September 11, 2001, that tomorrow can only be guaranteed
for the world's children if we fight emerging threats to peace and personal security
for all today. One terrorist act in one country is a terrorist crime against us
all. People of New York and the United States of America, may your wounds heal
fast and may ground zero remain, for all humanity, a symbol, not of our vulnerability
but our unshakeable foundation of mother earth. Collectively, and on behalf of
all the world's children, we must pledge: We shall make the world safe from all
forms of terrorism -- physical, social, cultural, environmental, and economic."
The 2003 World Forum on Early Care and Education will be held in Acapulco, Mexico
on May 13 - 16, 2003. Watch our web site, www.ChildCareExchange.com
for details as plans develop.