We appreciate the progress noted in the report of the Secretary-General entitled "Follow-up to the outcome of the special session of the General Assembly on children;" however, there are still huge challenges ahead.
Every day some 15,000 children die, mostly from curable diseases and other preventable causes; more than 124 million primary and secondary school-age children remain excluded from education. An estimated 1.2 million children under nine years were still living with HIV in 2017. Approximately 420 million children, nearly one-fifth of the world's children, live in areas affected by armed conflicts. By 2030, 167 million children will live in extreme poverty.
The plans and programs that we draw up, the documents that we agree on, will not make much of a difference if we do not work for the establishment of a more just and equitable international order, which fully focuses on human beings, their dignity and well-being.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary, recognizes that, for the full and harmonious development of the personality, the child should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. The Convention has become the most widely ratified human rights instrument in history and has helped to transform the lives of children around the world.
However, it is regrettable that only one State has not yet ratified it: the United States of America; which constitutes a lack of commitment to children, but it is, in turn, consistent with its daily actions.
In the United States, the most powerful and richest country, inequalities are so evident that in 2016 18% of children (13.3 million) lived in poverty and children represented 32.6% of the poor population. According to conservative statistics, on any given night in 2017, about 21% of the homeless in the United States were children.
The situation is alarming and we will not fail to denounce the United States' policy towards migrant children, who have been held in detention centers, have been separated from their families, causing regrettable deaths. The detention of migrant children is a violation of international law.
In addition, the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement constitutes a complete disregard for the future of children and their right to live in a healthy environment.
Cuba, as a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has drawn up national plans, policies and programs integrating the principles of the Convention. These plans cover the areas of health, education, disability care, sport, culture, social prevention, promotion and protection of rights, among others. The work is done following a comprehensive and intersectoral approach.
We have free and universal national healthcare and education systems at all levels, which are essential pillars for the realization of this priority. It should be taken into account that the Cuban Parliament allocates more than 50 % of the State budget for healthcare, education and social assistance.
Cuba ended the year 2018 with an infant mortality rate of 4.0 per thousand live births. All Cuban children are vaccinated at birth against 13 communicable diseases and priority is given to the early diagnosis of congenital disorders. We are proud to have been the first country to receive validation from the World Health Organization for eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and syphilis.
All these achievements have been attained by the Cuban people despite the serious consequences of the strengthened genocidal economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than half a century, which has a particularly strong impact on our children and adolescents.
We call on the international community to join forces to save children, to build a just and equitable world that will ensure a better future for our children.
Thank you very much