UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Maria Ribeiro | Remarks at the High-Level Commemoration Forum on the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the Parliament of Zimbabwe

  • Honourable Advocate Jacob Mudenda, Speaker of Parliament
  • Honourable President of the Senate Madame Mabel Chinomona
  • Honorable Deputy Speak of the National Assembly Honorable Tsitsi Gezi
  • Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentarian Affairs and Leader of Government Business in Parliament
  • Honorable Chairs of Portfolio Committees and other Members of the Parliament
  • Honorable Ministers here Present
  • Government Officials
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Development Partners
  • My Colleague Laylee Moshiri, UNICEF Representative and other UN Colleagues Present
  • Representatives of Civil Society Organization
  • Dear Children
  • Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am honored to join this high-level forum convened by the Parliament to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Convention of the Rights of the Child – or CRC – is a global promise to all children around the world, that children have rights and that the States will protect their rights.

Thirty years on, the children of 1989 are now grown-ups.  Quite a number of the Honourable Members of Parliament here today were children in 1989.  Today is an opportunity to renew that promise made 30 years ago, to the children of today and the children of the future. 

Zimbabwe has made tremendous progress since becoming a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1990. Insert positive achievements-

I am happy to note that Zimbabwe has also ratified key conventions and instruments that aim to advance the rights of children including: The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (May 2013); and the ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999).

However, poverty and recurrent socio-economic challenges facing the country are disproportionately impacting the girls and boys of Zimbabwe: in access to food and nutrition, access to health and education as well as ensuring the protection of children against violence and harmful practices.

The Sustainable Development Goals offer a strategic opportunity to tie progress for children to the 2030 Agenda. In this regard, greater coordination of the efforts of all stakeholders working towards the implementation of the country’s obligations under the CRC are necessary. This will enable maximum and efficient utilization of resources.

It is important to recognize that in furthering full implementation of the Convention, meaningful participation of children themselves as agents of positive change in the promotion, protection and monitoring of their own rights is necessary.

There is much that the Honourable Members of Parliament can do to uphold the rights of the Zimbabwean children, including ensuring that children are listened too.  The Parliament can ensure that the passing of legislation and its implementation to ensure child rights in Zimbabwe are accelerated: examples include, the 2016-2020 National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children; expediting of the Marriage Bill.

In the debates on national budgets, the Parliament can also ensure that investing in children is a priority and that adequate provision is made to support the roll-out programmes for children as well as protecting achievements, especially in moving towards free education and child health.

Allow me to conclude my short remarks by renewing the commitment of the United Nations to support initiatives that protect and advance the rights of children in Zimbabwe.

 I take this opportunity on the Occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the CRC, to urge Zimbabwe to sign up to the ‘’Global Pledge for Children’’ that renews the commitment of Member States to the Convention to increase action and results for children.

Parliamentarians, as the representatives of Zimbabwe’s children can and must play a key role in ensuring that no child is left behind and make the pledge: for every child in Zimbabwe, every right.

I thank you.

29 November 2019, Harare (Parliament of Zimbabwe)