While progress has been achieved worldwide in the defense of the rights of the child, it is regrettable that these have been unequally distributed on the basis of wealth divide and polarization between the North and the South, and even within the industrialized nations themselves.
Millions of childrenare still living under unacceptable conditions. According to estimates, some 5.9 million children died in 2015 before their fifth birthday, most of them from diseases that can be prevented and treated easily and affordably.
The ills afflicting childhood cannot be overcome without a just and equitable international order, eradicating poverty and hunger, ending war conflicts, favoring human beings over capital and preserving the environment.
The existing international economic order, if sustained, will cause by the year 2030 extreme poverty to 167 de million children, some 69 million of children under the age of five years will have died from curable diseases and 60 million at school age will remain deprived from education.
Today, many children are not only victims of armed conflicts, but they are also forced to be directly involved in these conflicts; we can proudly affirm that none of them is Cuban. We ensure our children will not face any dangerous situations because of wars or violence
In Cuba, there are no children on the streets, nor are they economically exploited and there is no child labor. No child in our country is forced to work to make the living for themselves or for their family. Governmental action, jointly with the civil society, have been successful in preventing our children from becoming victims of the trafficking in persons, the smuggling of migrants and the selling of their organs, illegal adoptions or servitude.
Thanks to the political will and the efforts of the Cuban government, the promotion and protection of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents is an issue of top priority. Cuba is a State Party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1991. However, the policies, actions and programs for children and adolescents began to be implemented after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, more than 30 years ahead of the Convention itself. Therefore, in today’s Cuba, hunger, illiteracy, insalubrity and discrimination against boys and girls are just bad memories.
These achievements are the result of the free and universal national health care and education systems at all levels, which are essential mainstays in the realization of this priority. The Cuban parliament allocates more than 50 percent of the State budget for health, education and social assistance.
Today’s infant mortality rate is 4.3 per one thousand live births, instead of 60 as it used to be before 1959. All Cuban children are vaccinated at birth against 13 communicable diseases and the early detection of congenital conditions is a priority. Likewise, Cuba was the first country to receive validation from the World Health Organization for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis.
According to the World Bank, Cuba holds the best education system in the world and is the country that invests most in education with nearly 13% of its GDP.
All these achievements have been attained by the Cuban people despite the severe impact of the genocidal economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than half a century.
The worst form of violence against children is the denial of their right to life, to a safe world, to health, food, education, culture and healthy forms of recreation. Therefore, international cooperation and solidarity are critical to eradicate this and all forms of violence and to achieve the full realization of the rights of girls and boys. The General Assembly must continue to play a fundamental role in the United Nations to promote these rights.
Thank you very much.