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         19 December 2002

On Thursday, 16 January 2003, the Delegation of the European Commission in Japan and the United Nations University (UNU), in cooperation with UNICEF and the Japan Committee for UNICEF, will organize a high-level international conference on issues related to human rights and the rights of the child. The conference, entitled gChildren in Turmoil: Rights of the Child in the Midst of Human Insecurity,h will be held at UN House in Tokyo.

This conference is the third in the annual EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum series. There will be a keynote session and three thematic sessions focusing on the abuse and exploitation of children; working children and children in conflict; and deprivation, health and education.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) provides an international legal framework for the care and protection of children and their participation in society. It defines the fundamental rights of children and encapsulates an extraordinary consensus by governments on this subject. A special session of the UN General Assembly in 2002 on children highlighted the vulnerability of the young to poverty, greed, crime, disease and exploitation. A specific article on childrenfs rights is also included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The 2003 EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum will raise and confront the challenges of gmaking a world fit for children.h The objective of the conference is to mobilize the private and public sectors to contribute to the fullest implementation of the UN Convention by sending a strong message, to politicians as well as to economic actors, that the rights and well-being of children must be fully integrated into all policy formulation.

The conference will bring together political leaders, academics, UN officials and NGO representatives to explore the debates and practical challenges regarding human rights through a focus on the rights of the child. Confirmed speakers include Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, UNICEF Ambassador for Goodwill; Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Minister of Canada; Nobuto Hosaka, Member of the House of Representatives, Japan; Seiko Noda, Member of the House of Representatives, Japan; Glenys Kinnock, Member of the European Parliament; Shada Islam, correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review; and Marta Santos Pais, Director of the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.

The EU-UNU Tokyo Global Forum will start at 9:30 a.m. A conference programme is attached for your information. Media representatives are cordially invited to attend.

This conference is being supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Asahi Shimbun.

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For further information please contact: the UNU Public Affairs Section
Tel. (03) 5467-1243, -1246; Fax (03) 3406-7346




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