Wien, 20. November 2013 Press release

"Strong children's rights for strong human rights"

Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger on the Universal Children's Day

Vienna, 20 November 2013 – "Assuring provision of the needs of children, protecting them and taking their causes seriously – these are the cornerstones of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that was introduced 24 years ago today. The Universal Children's Day reminds us of the great challenges that confront us today in actually implementing these rights, and of the responsibility we bear as states", Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.

2.2 billion children and young people under the age of 18 live on this planet. In numerous countries of the world the young are the majority in the population. "Only by taking the rights of children seriously and protecting them, will we be able to strengthen human rights for everyone over the long term. Whether by providing protection against physical and psychological violence, access to adequate nutrition and clean drinking water, or by opening up opportunities for professional training, we must give children the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment, in which they will have the opportunity to develop their talents and where their causes and issues are taken seriously”, Spindelegger said. 

Austrian Development Cooperation has been following this approach with success for some years now in numerous projects, for example by supporting children who are members of the Roma community in Southeast Europe. Working together with UNICEF, Austria is helping families here to provide their children with essential health care and to give them an education. In Albania, Macedonia and Serbia the Austrian Development Agency is working together closely with government ministries, local authorities, schools and health facilities with the aim of bringing about a change of awareness in these institutions and in society.

The UN marks the Universal Children's Day on the 20th of November, the date on which the General Assembly introduced the Declaration of Children’s Rights in 1959 and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

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