New High Commissioner Report on Rights of the Child Puts Greater Emphasis on Injury Prevention

OHCR Brochure Report

The Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented its report on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health to the Human Rights Council at its annual meeting on March 7 2013 in Geneva, which this year focused entirely on child health. Challenges to health which were highlighted as needing attention included reproductive health, malnutrition, obesity, violence and accidents, adolescent risk, substance abuse, and mental health issues.

6.9 million children die annually worldwide before their fifth birthdays, over two thirds of them to diseases and causes which can be prevented or treated. The risk of death to children in low income countries is 18 times greater than in high income countries. In all settings, the risk is higher in less educated communities and poorer households.

In the report, it is stated "Reducing the burden of child injuries requires strategies and measures to reduce road traffic accidents, drowning, burns and other accidents in the home, such as appropriate legislation and enforcement, especially with regard to road safety; product and environmental modification, education, skills development and behaviour change."

At the Human Rights Council meeting, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said "A child rights based approach to health emphasizes the need to eliminate exclusion and reduce social disparities in health between different groups of children."

At the Human Rights Council meeting, panels focused on challenges in achieving the full realization of the universal right to health, and development of implementation and accountability mechanisms to ensure that States comply with their obligations to child health.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child furthermore published a General Comment (No. 15) which was adopted during its March 2013 session. The General Comment provides guidelines for State Parties on how to interpret the specific aspects of the treaty and the report´s recommendations, and how to best comply with them for various health areas including injuries. Emphasis is given to planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

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