On October 10, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave an intervention during the Third Committee debate on Agenda Item 68, dedicated to “Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children.”
In his statement, Archbishop Auza said that the number of unaccompanied refugee and migrant children has increased five-hundred percent in the last five years and many are, to quote Pope Francis, “defenseless” because of their age, migratory status, and lack of guardians. The Convention on the Rights of the Child, Auza said, provides the universal legal basis to ensure the rights of child migrants, like proper identification and registration, legal guardians, education and health care. Armed conflicts are particularly dangerous for children, he said, who are increasingly being used as soldiers, suicide bombers, sex slaves and disposable intelligence gatherers, and schools and child hospitals are being destroyed as a strategy of war. Children, he concluded, cannot be left voiceless, but their fundamental human rights, best interests, protection and integration must concern all.
His intervention can be found here.