The 57th Session of the Commission on Human Rights
Deputy Permanent Representative of Romania
Item 13:
Rights of the Child
Geneva, 10th of April 2001

Mr. Chairman,

The Romanian Delegation has already aligned itself to the EU statement under agenda item 13. I would, however, like to take this opportunity to bring some additional comments on the issue of promoting and respecting the rights of the child, as it is one of the topics of primary concern for the Government of my country.

We commend the efforts of the UN mechanisms, first of all of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, to further strengthen the institutional monitoring capacities and to insure the translation of the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic legal obligation and into reality. This, in its turn, requires a systematic, pro-active and sustainable effort from the part of all states, to ensure that the implementation of the provisions will bring about real and lasting changes in attitude in the field of child protection.

Romania fully supports the enhancement of the existing mechanisms and stands ready to contribute to the fulfilment of their mandate. We are of the opinion that if we are to be successful in our endeavours, then a new inclusive approach should lie at the heart of our combined and committed efforts. International cooperation, common reflection and national institutional involvement are key areas we can build upon in promoting the rights of the child.

Mr. Chairman,

For a decade now, Romania has been going through a comprehensive process of reforming its own national system of childcare, in order to better meet the urgent needs in this field. The policy of forced natality in the not too distant past, a totally inadequate policy of family planning and the social burdens linked to economic transition, including an insufficient social safety net, were all factors that had to be addressed concertedly and effectively.

The Romanian Government has placed the issue of child protection as a top national priority and has taken concrete measures in order to boost the childcare system, with a view to ensuring the good functioning of services and institutions for children in difficulty. A "National Strategy for the reform of childcare system" was tailored in close consultation with non-governmental organizations active in the field, establishing clear-cut policy guidelines for a radical change of the current situation.

The Strategy has drawn upon the basic principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the principle of non-discrimination, the principle of the best interest of the child, the principle of multifaceted and multidisciplinary intervention, the principle of state responsibility for the welfare of children.

By implementing the provisions of the Strategy we expect:

  • the gradual de-institutionalisation of abandoned children through encouragement of their return to their own or foster families,
  • further decentralization of the childcare system through an increased transfer of competencies to local authorities and communities,
  • the creation of an effective monitoring system that will also seek to ensure the necessary financial resources for implementing various projects and programmes.

At the institutional level, the National Agency for Child Protection is an intrinsic part of the high level Government's executive structure. It bears the responsibility for the consolidation of the legislative framework and the administrative network providing effective support in promoting alternatives to residential care and attracting the participation and contribution of civil society and other partners.

On the normative ground, as a further step for better protection of the rights of children in vulnerable situation, the legal definition of the child in need has been adopted, as a measure to better provide for the physical and moral development, safety and integrity of the child.

Based on the multiple partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organizations, a substantial number of projects have been developed, aimed at supporting families confronted with economic and social difficulties, preventing neglect and abandonment and offering an adequate environment for children in need.

As an associate country to the European Union, we are extremely grateful for the valuable support of our European partners in our efforts to build an effective childcare system. Recent positive results in this sense are the decline in the number of institutionalised children, as well as the systematic and predictable increase in adoptions among Romanian families.

Mr. Chairman,

We believe that the rights of the child must continue to represent a focal issue and a high standing priority on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights. The rich experience of general human rights activities should be used to promote respect for the rights of the child, through dissemination and awareness raising, mobilizing the energies of international organizations and of individual states. In this sense, we expect that the UN Special Session on Children to take place in New York later this year will bring its own contribution to the renewed commitment of the international community in improving the lives of children worldwide.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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