by His Excellency Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President
of the Republic of Haiti
At the special session of the
United Nations General Assembly on Children, New York
Mr. Chairman of this assembly,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Distinguished
diplomats, Ladies, Gentlemen,
I am pleased to salute you, on
behalf of Haitian children who are getting prepared
to celebrate in 2004 the Bicentennial of our Independence.
About 1 222 000 Haitian children,
are under age 5, i.e. 14% of our population, dream of
happiness and love. As well, the 3 897 000 are under
age 18, i.e. 49% of the population, dream of a new Haiti
and a better world. Their dreams lead us both to explore
their collective unconscious mind and to discover their
All the children of the world
have the right to life and happiness.
Their rights are indivisible
and primordial. Article One of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights provides that, "All human beings
are born equal in dignity and rights."
In this special gathering dedicated
to children, it is our responsibility to place their
rights at the first rank of our priorities and to embrace
their suffering and their dreams of happiness. Indeed,
over 100 million children do not go to school, more
than half a billion of children live with less than
a dollar a day.
All their life, they keep psychological
marks from this abject poverty. Trauma comes also from
their exposure to terrorism, violence and conflicts.
During the last decade, two million
children have been massacred, six million have been
wounded or handicapped, 12 million have become homeless
or left abandoned.
To eradicate this poverty and
its deleterious consequences, we must promote a new
open policy and a new world partnership in favor of
the children. They are eager to change the world. In
them, we find privileged partners.
In their name here, at this rostrum,
the First Lady of the First Black Republic of the world
said no to HIV/AIDS. 1,14 million children under 15
having tested positively, it's appalling!
We will recall that 4,3 million
children have died of AIDS since the outbreak of the
Vivid in our memory still are
the activities organized by our tenth department against
A special thanks to the friends
who have called for the removal of economic sanctions
Through solidarity beyond borders,
and all united against corruption, drugs, impunity and
poverty, we will succeed in reducing the child mortality
rate and in securing basic education for everyone.
On the eve of our bicentennial
independence, we take pride in having adopted a new
law prohibiting corporal punishment, while we look forward
to eliminating domesticity throughout the country. There
is a new dynamic, of course, which opens new horizons
for the education of our children.
"Homo doctus in se semper
divitias habet." "The educated man always
has his richness inside himself."
With models like Gandhi, Martin
Luther King, President Mandela and Toussaint Louverture,
our children feed on dignity, the blood of economic
This dialectical approach to
children partakes in the growth of their being and their
world, invites us to be listening all the time to children.
Yes, we must listen to children!
And at home, in Haiti, we certainly
like very much listening to the Haitian children who,
since 1995, have their own radio station "Radio
Timoun" and their own television station "Tele-Timoun."
The more the heart tunes in its
ears to the world's children, the more the rays of hope
will guide us toward a better world.
This better world, in which development
of the countries of the South, far from slowing down
the North, will contribute to a stronger world economy,
as European reconstruction from 1945 has shown.
Our children dream of a better
world. We do too.
To the inhabitants of our planet,
Happiness and Peace!
To the children of the whole
world, much, much love!