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Pentus-Rosimannus: Estonia will be a candidate for UNICEF chair next year


At meetings with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Anthony Lake and the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative Leila Zerrougoui in New York, the Foreign Minister discussed UNICEF's activities in protecting the rights of children and also opportunities for cooperation for improving the situation of children living in countries involved in conflicts. “For Estonia, protecting the rights of the most vulnerable – children – is one of the most important areas on which we have focussed our human rights work on an international level. Children do not have the capacity or the skills to defend themselves in violent conflicts; it is our duty to improve their security,” Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus said. The Estonian Foreign Minister stated that Estonia plans to run as a candidate for chair of the United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF in 2016 in order to contribute to standing for children's rights.

At the meeting with the UN Children's Fund’s Executive Director Anthony Lake, UNICEF's activities in improving the situation of children around the world were discussed at length. The Foreign Minister praised the activities of the United Nations in protecting children's rights and added that Estonia actively supports children’s rights, both in the Human Rights Council, the UN Security Council, and through UNICEF and development projects. According to the minister, Estonia contributes to helping children, including improving educational opportunities for girls. “Getting an education helps to prevent many problems down the road and allows girls and women in developing societies to cope better,” the Foreign Minister said.

Estonia has supported the activities of UNICEF since 1998. In 2014, Estonia supported UNICEF's activities with a total of 605 000 euros. This year, Estonia has contributed to the development of the general education curriculum in Georgia and has provided humanitarian aid to alleviate the situation of internally displaced persons in Ukraine totalling 360,000 euros.

With the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative Leila Zerrougoui they discussed the role and activities of the United Nations in assisting children affected by conflict. “The campaign “Children, not Soldiers”, launched by the Special Representative has helped to combat the recruitment of child soldiers and has given several thousand children back their childhood,” the Foreign Minister said.

According to Pentus-Rosimannus, Estonia has provided humanitarian aid in support of children affected by armed conflicts. “This year, we are directly supporting the activities of the Special Representative with 30,000 euros,” the Foreign Minister said.

In addition, the Foreign Minister held a speech in New York at the 8th Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In her speech, the minister emphasized the need to ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of people with disabilities, their equal treatment and to protect their inherent dignity.

The Foreign Minister will also meet in New York with UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyang-wha Kang. The Foreign Minister will return to Estonia on June 11.

Photos from the meeting:



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