East Timor tells UN forum it will soon adopt global treaty protecting children's rights

East Timor tells UN forum it will soon adopt global treaty protecting children's rights

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East Timorese officials today told a United Nations meeting on children that the new nation was on the verge of adopting an international treaty that protects the rights of youngsters.

The announcement was made at a briefing by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on "The Protection of East Timorese Children and the Convention on the Rights of the Child." The event in Dili drew a wide range of government and UN officials, civil society groups and journalists.

East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri told the briefing that the Convention on the Rights of the Child is currently being considered by Parliament, which he expects will soon endorse East Timor's adoption of the measure.

The Prime Minister also said he hoped that the current generation of East Timor's children that have been raised in a climate of violence will now be able to enjoy the country's newly achieved stability.

Mehr Kahn, the Director of UNICEF's Southeast Asia regional office, opened the briefing by congratulating East Timor's government for moving quickly since the country's independence to bring about improvements and take many new and important initiatives.

Ms. Khan also said she was "very encouraged to learn that when East Timor takes its place in the United Nations General Assembly in September, the Government hopes to be able to accede to the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as other human rights instruments."

She also said she was pleased to see that East Timor's recently adopted Constitution explicitly recognizes many of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.