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Item 3 - Resolution on Preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern

Human Rights Council 33rd Session (13-30 September 2016)

Introductory Statement by Ireland – Item 3

Draft resolution L.20 entitled: “Preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern”

29 September 2016 

Mr President,

On behalf of a cross-regional core-group, composed of Austria, Botswana, Ireland and Mongolia, I have the honour to present draft resolution L.20 entitled: “Preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern”, which enjoys the support of 65 cosponsors [1].

Mr President,

The draft resolution before us is a follow up to Human Rights Council resolutions 24/11 and 27/14 which were adopted by consensus in 2013 and 2014. The 2014 resolution requested the High Commissioner to prepare a report on the implementation of the technical guidance on the application of a human rights based approach to preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5. 

While there has been some progress in reducing child mortality since 2013, it continues to be the case that more than 5,900,000 children die every year before their fifth birthday. Tragically, most of these deaths are preventable. Variations in child mortality rates show that stark inequalities between and within countries persist. This inequality is driven not only by poverty, but by social exclusion, discrimination, gender norms and the neglect of basic human rights. A human rights based approach complements, informs and strengthens States efforts in addressing preventable child mortality. It does not exclude other approaches, rather it ensures that high risk groups, as well as gaps in protection, are identified and targeted.

The technical guidance sets out why human rights have such a central role to play, however the High Commissioner’s report has shown that some issues require further attention from a human rights perspective, particularly in relation to the newborn child. This is why we are requesting that the OHCHR, in collaboration with the WHO, convene an expert workshop to discuss challenges, best practices and lessons learned going forward.

We have worked with stakeholders over the last few weeks to reflect the views and concerns of all delegations, to achieve what we believe is a balanced text. We would like to sincerely thank all delegations for their support and constructive participation throughout the negotiation process.  We are particularly grateful to all delegations which have cosponsored this draft resolution and we would also like to express our warm appreciation to colleagues at OHCHR and WHO. 

As recalled by the High Commissioner in his report: “the life of every child is unique, its loss a tragedy. If that loss is preventable, the tragedy is even bigger.” We trust this draft resolution will be adopted by consensus.

Thank you Mr. President.

[1] This resolution is supported by 69 cosponsors as of 7 October 2016.