No society could think of a successful future and sustained development without making the issue of children its priority, Lulit Zewde Gebremariam, an Ethiopian representative told a UN General Assembly meeting on children's rights, on 26 October. Lulit said children should be protected from "abuse, neglect, exploitation, discrimination, violence and conflicts". She said the promotion and protection of the rights of children had been the nucleus of Ethiopia's social development policy. The Ethiopian government had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and had undertaken significant measures to harmonise national laws and policies with the provisions of the convention, she said. Lulit told the meeting of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) of the General Assembly that the Ethiopian constitution specifically referred to the rights of the child, and that the family law had been revised to uphold children's rights, and its implementation was under way. Revision of the country's penal code of was also in progress.
Lulit, warned, however, that widespread poverty continued to hamper the various efforts to bring to realisation national developmental policies in general, and more specifically to effect the implementation of programmes for children. She said the outcome document of the special session on children had to emphasise the urgent need for enhanced international cooperation in terms of "considerable development assistance, the total cancellation of debt, fair international terms of trade and improved foreign direct investment".
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