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The Treaties - 42 - Treaty in Defense and Protection of Children and Adolescents


1. The discussions related to environment and development presuppose a central idea: the preservation of life for all species. The model of development internationally adopted results in social inequality and degradation to the environment that directly influences children and adolescents who live in a situation which systematically negates their fundamental rights.

2. This situation results in a shameful panorama that is encountered among the great majority of children and adolescents of the world. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), each day 40,000 children die from malnutrition and common childhood illnesses, 150 million children live with chronic health problems and 100 million children between 0 and 11 years of age do not attend school. In addition, the rate of violence and exploitation of children in work situations, including slavery and prostitution, is extremely high.

3. It has become fundamental that children and adolescents be guaranteed the right to live with dignity, love and primary care which includes food, shelter, basic medical attention, and opportunity for education and recreation.

4. Children and adolescents have legal rights and are also agents of societal transformation, being part of the process and not simply passive observers of world events. Because the responsibility for the development of the child and adolescent belongs with us, the responsible adults (the family, society and the state), we propose the following collective agreement, that:

    a. the legal rights of children and adolescents should be enforced

    b. these rights should be encompassed in an agreement that all societies should adopt and these rights should be permanently maintained

    c. the conventions, declarations, statutes and laws - national and international - that protect and defend the rights of children and adolescents should be enforced by their respective signatories and persons responsible

    d. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will work to create laws regarding child rights in the nations which currently have not given legal rights to children

    e. the theme "Children and Adolescents" be included in forums, debates and agreements - national and international - related to the future of humankind and planet earth

    f. with regard to the protection and defense of children and adolescents, NGOs will interact in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity that opens the way to obtaining concrete results in favor of the children and adolescents

    g. each country will allocate within their budget funds proportional to the infant-juvenile population - to be administered by a committee made up of people from government and the civil sector.

Our Commitment

We are committed to:

5. Make known this "Treaty In Defense and Protection of Children and Adolescents" and seek agreement regarding it at both national and international levels

6. Define specific, concrete actions that will result in the agreed upon objectives, with substantial participation from the civil society and NGOs

7. Permanently monitor, enforce and supervise the responsible agencies for viability and execution of the proposed goals

8. Guarantee the right of participation of children and adolescents in discussions and actions in respect of their interests - considering the particularly vulnerable condition of children in the process of development and in regard to the future of the planet

9. Realize annual meetings among NGOs at the national level, to evaluate the planned objectives of this treaty

10. Realize, five years from now, a meeting among the international NGO signatories of this treaty, to evaluate and modify where necessary the goals proposed in this treaty.

Addendum - Children and Adolescents Treaty

11. Considering that breastmilk is a precious resource: natural and renewable; the ideal species-specific food; and bringing countless benefits not only for the consumer and for the mother who nourishes, but also for our planet

12. Considering that breastfeeding is an inalienable biological right of all mammals

13. Considering that bottle feeding with artificial milk - largely used by the human species - has caused illness and death to a great number of babies and harm to women's health

14. Considering that artificial feeding contributes to damage to the earth, because of the enormous waste of resources in the form of packaging and its disposal, transportation, storage, preparation, deforestation for cattle rearing and the subsequent use of fertilizer and pesticides as well as the production of methane, contributing to the greenhouse effect

We propose that:

15. Breastmilk must be considered a natural and renewable resource, promoted and protected by citizens, NGOs and nations

16. The biological right of each species of mammals to be exclusively breastfed in accordance with its specific biological necessity must be respected

17. The infant food and nursing bottle industry must obey the letter and spirit of the "International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes - WHO/UNICEF", adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1981, and the corresponding UN Resolution 39/28 of 1986.


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