Delegate: Mr. Espen Ophaug (27 years)
30. Mr. Ophaug (Norway), speaking as Norway’s youth delegate to the current session of the General Assembly and as a representative of the Norwegian Youth Council, stressed that primary education was not just a human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Dakar Framework for Action and the Millennium Declaration, but also an important factor in development. Noting that 130 million children in developing countries had no access to primary education, he urged Member States to promote elementary education for all and to take appropriate action to reduce school drop-out rates, particularly among girls, using the Dakar Framework for Action as a guideline. In the context of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, children and young people must be made aware of their rights and young people must be included in decision-making processes that affected their lives.
31. He welcomed the General Assembly’s adoption of the draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child related to the involvement of children in armed conflict and the draft optional protocol related to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and urged all States to sign and ratify them as soon as possible.
32. Young people from some of the world’s conflict areas had gathered recently in Norway at the International Peace Summer School, where they had had an opportunity to meet and discuss with people whom they usually regarded as their enemies. The event, which had been co-funded by the Government of Norway and organized by the Norwegian Youth Council, the Nansen Academy and the National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), had been a huge success and follow-up meetings were planned in the Balkans, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Norway. He recommended that other Governments sponsor such forums at which young people could engage in a dialogue about how to create a peaceful future. In conclusion, he expressed the hope that Governments would include children and young people in their delegations to the special session of the General Assembly in 2001 for follow-up to the [*7*] World Summit for Children and, in general, make it possible for more youth delegates to participate in United Nations meetings.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/55/SR.3