Statements

Tuesday 23 November 2010
Statement of the Holy See in Explanation of Position on the Resolution “Rights of the Child” (A/C.3/65/L.21/Rev.1) of the Third Committee of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 23 November 2010
Statement of the Holy See in Explanation of PositionResolution “Rights of the Child”A/C.3/65/L.21/Rev.1Third Committee of the 65th session of the UN General Assembly New York, 23 November 2010 Mr. Chairman, On the adoption of this resolution on the Rights of the Child (A/C.3/65/L.21/Rev.1), my delegation takes this opportunity to thank the co-facilitators for their leadership of the negotiations. However, my delegation must point out that any such resolution must be faithful to the explicit contents of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the Holy See and many other States are party. The Convention is the international normative instrument to protect children. For this reason any resolution on children must take this into account fully.One of the fundamental principles of the Convention is respect for all children, born and unborn. As the Preamble explicitly states, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth.”It is most dismaying that the present resolution contains various elements which attempt to introduce confusion in this regard. While the text calls upon States to include, within the overall context of policies and programmes, many appropriate provisions for children in early childhood, including for example, measures to improve prenatal, perinatal and post-natal care for mother and child, my delegation must at the same time point out that the introduction of an ambiguous term such as “sexual and reproductive health”, to which the Holy See has consistently raised objections, is not found in the Convention, has no place in such a resolution which is for the rights of all children, before and after birth, and can be often understood in a way which, in part, hinders the advancement of the health and well-being of children and mothers. Another fundamental principle of the Convention is that parents have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of their child (Art. 18, 1). However, it is also disconcerting that the present resolution attempts to go beyond what is laid down in the Convention in this regard. Here my delegation must point out that the content of any resolution or outcome document regarding children must be faithful to the text of the Convention; otherwise, we risk creating confusion which does nothing for the protection of children. Finally, as my delegation pointed out during the negotiation of the present text, we have concern regarding the Committee on the Rights of the Child going beyond its mandate. Such a body cannot be excused from adhering to the traditional rules of interpretation of law, in particular to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and risks undermining the international treaty system in the realm of human rights where it has actively promoted an interpretation of these international standards in a way which undermines the fundamental rationale of law: to protect life. In this regard, studies that the Committee recommends, and which may publish on specific issues relating to the rights of the child (Art. 45, c) constitute private opinions which cannot create any legally binding commitment, and any suggestions and general recommendations the Committee makes to any State party (Art. 45, d) must be faithful to the text of the Convention and thus respect children, as well as the indispensable primary role of parents, and the family which is the basic cell or unit of society.A resolution on children which introduces elements which run directly counter to the text of the Convention cannot but cause States to question the reason for ratification of such international instruments.I would request that this statement and our reservations be duly reflected in the records of this meeting.Thank you, Mr. Chairman.