Statement by H.E. Madame Huynh Thi Nhan, First Deputy Minister for Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Head of the delegation of Viet Nam at the General Assembly’s Special Session on Children
New York, 11 December 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the Vietnamese delegation I would like to express our warmest greetings to you, Mr. President and all distinguished delegations. We also wish you good health and successes in your noble task to make contribution to the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the outcome of the Twenty-Seventh Special Session of the General Assembly entitled "A World fit for children" for the best interests of the children all over the globe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Despite various difficulties and challenges in recent years, Viet Nam is being seen remarkable social and economic gains due in large part to sound socio-economic development planning, continued political and security stability. The economy of Viet Nam continuously attains a high rate of grow at an annual average of 7.5%. Along with economic development, Viet Nam has paid special attention and given priority to social development.
Over the past five years, the Government of Viet Nam has continued to show its strong commitment to and determination in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Optional Protocols and "A World fit for children". The rights of children have been strongly confirmed in the law system of Viet Nam. The State has revised and amended many important laws and promulgated many strategies, programs and projects in order to better implement the rights and interests of children, for example the Constitution (1992) and its revised version (2003), the Penal Code (2003), the Law on the Protection, Care and Education of Children (2004), the Education Law (2005), the Law on the Youth (2005), the Law on Gender Equality (2006), the Law on HIV/AIDS Prevention, the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence (2007) and many other legal documents.
The second National Action Plan for children has been developed and undertaken. The goals and targets for the child have been incorporated into socio-economic development plans from the central to local levels. In 2006, the target of increasing the number of "communes and wards fit for children" became one of the national socio-economic development targets for the 2006-2010 period. Viet Nam has been working diligently to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as to implement 12 national development goals and 32 concrete targets based on MDGs, of which some directly relate to children such as reduction of the number of poor households, universalization of education, enhancement of education quality, reduction of child mortality and under-five malnutrition rates, reduction of birth rate, improvement of maternal health, reduction of HIV/AIDS cases and of inequality among ethnic groups.
In actively responding to the commitment of building "A World fit for children", Viet Nam has been creating child-friendly environment in school, family and society. The campaign of "Building communes and wards fit for children" with concrete targets and standards launched in 2004, was a solution combining the resources of the State and the society, systematic inter-agency supervision at all levels with the promotion of local initiative and creativity in order to build a safe and healthy life and create conditions conducive to the priority tasks of child development suitable to the local circumstances. At present, all provinces and cities of Viet Nam have been implementing this model and we will do our utmost to have 70% communes and wards in the whole country meeting the standards of "communes and wards fit for children" in 2010. At the same time, models of child-friendly environment such as "Safe house", "Safe commune" and "Safe school" have been introduced and followed in more and more places.
Thanks to such efforts, the Vietnamese children have enjoyed favorable conditions to live in a safe and healthy environment, and grow in all aspects - physical, intellectual, spiritual, and moral. The child under-five mortality rate decreased from 32.9 % (2002) to 27.5% (2005) and the under-five malnutrition (weight/age) prevalence dropped to 23.4% in 2006. Up to now, about 96% of under-six children are entitled to free medical check up and treatment at public healthcare facilities. The Extended Programme of Immunization (EPI) with 6 vaccines (tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, tetanus and polio) has reached 90% of children in the whole country. The percentage of children attending primary school is 97.5% and that of secondary school is 85%. At present, all communes of ethnic minorities have primary schools and many villages have their own classes. All of the districts in mountainous areas have boarding schools. Viet Nam has attained the national standard related to illiteracy eradication and universal primary education in 2000; 35 provinces attained the standard of universal lower-secondary education in 2006. Particularly, children with disability have been educated at 98 special schools. Models of community-based child protection have been implemented nation-wide. 66% of street children have been taken care of. 90% of children have birth registration certificates. 80.3% of districts and 38% of villages and communes have playing grounds for children. The publication of newspapers and books for children has increased significantly, accounting for 63.2% of the total publication. All public mass media have interesting, useful and suitable programs for children of all ages.
Favorable conditions have been created for the Vietnamese children to express their ideas and talk with leaders of all levels on issues of their interests. Forums as such “Listening to young people and children’s talk about social issues”, “We, the children, need living skills to be able to live a safe and healthy life”, “We - The owners of the 21 century” and “We speak about HIV/AIDS” have attracted the participation of thousands of children. In addition to that, there are about 17,000 teams of young advocates and 40 Young Reporters Clubs, which serve as forums for children to advocate for and supervise the implementation of their rights and to exchange views on how to prevent and control HIV/AIDS.
With a view to promoting supervision and evaluation of the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and its Protocols and the outcome of the Twenty-Seventh Special Session - “A World Fit for Children”. Viet Nam has developed a set of indicators on the rights of the child, child protection, women and children of ethnic minorities… At the same time, we have undertaken surveys on the implementation of the goals of the decade (MICS), thus contributing to the development and management of programmes, plans and polices related to children and allowing us to forecast the trend of change in some issues concerning children.
However, Viet Nam is still confronted with many difficulties and challenges in the protection and care of children as well as in fully ensuring their rights. The child malnutrition rate and the maternal mortality rate are still high; trafficking in children and law violations by children are yet to decline; drug abuse and HIV/AIDS inflection among children are still of concern. The situation of children with special circumstances or at risk to fall into special circumstances is not yet under control. Children in remote, mountainous, border and island areas are still living in difficult conditions. Health care and services for children are still limited. The database and system of indicators on children are still lacking and not entirely scientific. The network of social workers does not meet the requirements and many of them lack experience. These are hindering efforts to build a world suitable to children.
Viet Nam has been doing its utmost to implement the MDGs, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its Protocols and “A World Fit to Children”. In the course of implementation, Viet Nam has deeply understood that it must put into full play its internal strength, continuously perfect the apparatus of the State, socialize the work of protection, care and education of children and attach great importance to international cooperation, particularly the exchange of experience and strengthen multilateral and bilateral cooperation in order to achieve the goals for the best interests of the children of Viet Nam as well as of the world.
On half of the Government of Viet Nam I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to governments and inter-governmental, especially UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO, UNAIDS, FAO, as well as non-governmental organizations, for their active cooperation and effective assistance to Viet Nam in the implementation of goals and targets for children.
Once again, I wish this General Assembly’s Session on children great success.
Thank you for your kind attention.