me straight there
by His Excellency Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President
of the Republic of Haiti
At the special session
of the United Nations General Assembly on Children,
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 rights.
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.
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 epidemic.
Vivid in our memory
still are the activities organized by our tenth department
A special thanks to
the friends who have called for the removal of economic
sanctions against Haiti.
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
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 solidarity.
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
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!