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World Children's Day – For every child, every right

Children's rights are human rights - and they are being seriously violated for millions of children around the world: in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Haiti and elsewhere. On World Children's Day, we echo UNICEF's call for peace for every child. Every child has the right to live in peace, in a clean and safe environment. They also have the right to be heard and to participate in the decisions that affect them.

This year, World Children's Day marks the 34th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which made children not only objects of protection but also bearers of their rights. The uniqueness of the Convention is reflected in its guiding principles, which include the best interest of the child, non-discrimination, the right to life, survival and development, and the right to be heard. In its foreign policy activities, Slovenia pays special attention to promoting children's rights and improving their well-being.

Slovenia regularly supports events aimed at strengthening children's rights. In September this year, Slovenia participated in a tree planting in Geneva to mark the official launch of the General Comments of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. These explain how children's rights under the Convention relate to the protection of the environment and affirm that children have the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs finances development and humanitarian projects that focus on children and their needs. In view of the numerous conflict hotspots around the world, projects for the period 2023–2025 concentrate on the rehabilitation of child victims of armed conflict. Slovenia supports medical and psychosocial assistance projects for children affected by violence, which are currently being implemented in Moldova, Ukraine and Gaza, to help them recover from the psychological trauma of violence and to provide access to the necessary medicines. This year, the Ministry has provided psycho-physical rehabilitation for 17 children from Armenia at Debeli Rtič and plans to do the same next year. For several years, it has also supported the rehabilitation of a girl who lost her leg in an airstrike in Syria in 2016.

Two days ago, we also celebrated the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. The European Day was proclaimed by the Council of Europe in May 2015 at the initiative of Slovenia and aims to raise awareness about the problem of sexual exploitation and abuse of children and the need to prevent such acts. This year, Slovenia, together with Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco and San Marino, issued a joint statement at the Council of Europe to amplify the voices of victims and survivors of sexual violence and to listen to their stories in order to encourage policy change in this area. Many other Council of Europe and EU member states joined the statement.