Resolution adopted by consensus by the 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Ouagadougou, 14 September 2001)

The 106th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recognising that inadequate protection of children and violations of their rights are caused or aggravated by poor economic conditions, poverty, unemployment, increasing international organised crime, lack of education, inadequate legislation or law enforcement, armed conflict and natural disasters, as well as insufficient democratic structures,

Reaffirming the belief that children are the driving force of present day and future society, and that it is the duty of parliaments and parliamentarians to safeguard and protect their most basic rights,

Aware that poverty, hunger and disease are impediments to education and development,

Reaffirming the commitment by all States to break the cycle of poverty within a single generation,

Recalling the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, the Declaration and Plan of Action for the Survival, Protection and Development of Children (1990), the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action on Human Rights (1993), and the Beijing Platform for Action (1995),

Concerned that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has not been fully implemented and that not all States have ratified it,

Recognising the important work carried out by international organisations in promoting children's rights, especially the United Nations, UNICEF, UNESCO, ILO and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement,

Expressing concern that economic globalisation and the rapid development of the information society could increase poverty and widen the knowledge gap between and within countries,

Stressing that international solidarity and cooperation are crucial to the well-being of all children of the world, and to the fulfilment of their rights,

Reiterating the IPU's deep concern over embargoes and other sanctions which inflict unwarranted suffering on the people of the countries affected, particularly women and children,

Reaffirming the IPU resolutions and actions to promote the rights of the child,

Protecting children’s rights

  1. Urges States that have not yet ratified the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to do so as a matter of priority, and, along with those countries which have ratified the Convention, to implement fully the obligations it entails; to incorporate fully such commitments into their domestic law and to prepare a precise plan of action with the requisite budgetary resources in order to attain the goals of the Convention within a reasonable time;

  2. Encourages States to cooperate with and assist the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and other UN bodies or agencies, as well as non-governmental organisations, which have specific responsibilities to protect children's rights;

  3. Calls on States to consider the appointment of a special ombudsman for children with the necessary independence and powers to act effectively, and to ensure that their recommendations and those of similar institutions are enforced by relevant authorities;

  4. Urges the international community to take immediate action to lift embargoes and other sanctions which have negatively affected children in different parts of the world, with special emphasis on severe situations;

  5. Recommends that States spare no effort in promoting and supporting the family and local community in guaranteeing the rights of children to development, protection and education;

  6. Calls on States, when taking decisions that affect children, to take into account the views of the children themselves in order to protect their best interests and attempt to analyse and evaluate all the consequences of such decisions in a systematic fashion;
  1. Reaffirms parliaments' commitment to contribute, at national and international levels, to breaking the cycle of poverty within a single generation, in order to nurture children in a safe environment in which they can be physically healthy, mentally alert, emotionally secure, socially competent and able to learn;
  1. Urges States to take appropriate measures to prevent, combat and eliminate all forms of discrimination against children on the basis of race, colour, sex, language, religion, national, ethnic or social origin, descent, economic status, disability or because their situations make them vulnerable (migrant, refugee and internally displaced children);
The girl child
  1. Calls on all States to take the necessary measures, including legal reforms where appropriate, to ensure the full and equal enjoyment by the girl child of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, to take effective actions against violations, such as sexual abuse and female genital mutilation, and to develop programmes and policies for the girl child that place her on an equal footing with the boy child;

  2. Urges governments and parliaments to take all appropriate measures, including enacting laws, to end the persisting violation of the girl child by female genital mutilation;
Disabled children
  1. Calls on all States:

    (a) To take all necessary measures, including appropriate budgetary allocations, to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by children with disabilities;

    (b) To develop and enforce legislation with a view to ensuring dignity, prosperity and self-reliance for disabled children so as to facilitate their active participation in the community, including adequate and effective access to appropriate high-quality special education;

  1. Calls on all States to take all appropriate measures to guarantee a safe and healthy start in life for all children, by providing access to effective, equitable and sustainable primary health-care systems in all communities, ensuring access to information and referral services, adequate water and sanitation services, tackling major causes of malnutrition and promoting a healthy lifestyle among children and adolescents;

  2. Urges States to ensure that particular emphasis is placed on the prevention of HIV infection in children, to provide support and rehabilitation to infected children and their families as well as orphans, preferably within their community, and to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to protect them from all forms of discrimination;
  1. Calls on all States:

    (a) To recognise the right to education on the basis of equal opportunity by making basic education compulsory and free, and ensuring that all children, regardless of gender, have access to it, and make secondary education available and accessible to all;

    (b) To invest substantially in the education of children and to guarantee that educational materials are free of charge;

    (c) To provide children with adequate training to cope with the demands of the global information society, including through cooperation, coordination and the exchange of experiences between countries;

  1. Calls on all States:

    (a) To take all necessary measures to protect children from torture, attack, displacement and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and all forms of violence, including physical, mental and sexual abuse, abuse by police and other law enforcement authorities, or by employees in juvenile detention centres, orphanages, child-care institutions and others, as well as from violence in the street, schools and the home;

    (b) To investigate and prosecute in cases of torture and other forms of violence against children in order to ensure that those responsible for such offences receive appropriate disciplinary or penal sanctions;

  2. Urges all States that have not ratified the UN Convention Against Torture to do so in order to universalise the prohibition of torture in international law;
Child labour
  1. Calls on all national parliaments, governments and the international community:

    (a) To translate into concrete action their commitment to the progressive and effective elimination of child labour that is likely to be hazardous, interfere with the child's education or be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, and to the immediate elimination of the worst forms of child labour;

    (b) To this end, to promote education as a key strategy, and devise economic policies, where necessary in cooperation with the international community, that address factors contributing to these forms of child labour;

  2. Calls on all States that have not yet ratified ILO Convention No. 182 concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and Convention No. 138 concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment to do so and to incorporate them into their national legislation;
Sexual exploitation and trafficking of children
  1. Calls on all States:

    (a) To criminalise and effectively penalise all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse of children, including within the family or for the purposes of commerce, child pornography and child prostitution, or child sex tourism and the related use of the Internet, with a view to ensuring that child prostitution and pornography are unequivocally condemned and eliminated throughout the world;

    (b) To take all appropriate national, bilateral and international measures to develop laws, policies, programmes and practices to ensure the effective implementation of international instruments for preventing and combating the trafficking and sale of children for any purpose or in any form;

  2. Urges all governments and parliaments to promote and ensure the speedy signing and ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Related Protocol against Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000);

  3. Calls on all States that have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (2000) to do so;
Children in armed conflicts
  1. Urges States to take all appropriate measures:

    (a) To foster a culture of peace and non-violence, in particular among children and young people, in observance of the UN International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001-2010;

    (b) To protect children and their families during armed conflicts, in accordance with international humanitarian law, and to give priority to children in processes to restore peace and in post-war rehabilitation programmes;

    (c) To ensure that persons under the age of 18 are not recruited into their armed forces, and that members of the armed forces and armed groups are under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities, either in international or internal conflicts, and to consider the enforcement of such participation as a war crime;

  2. Exhorts all States and other parties to armed conflicts to end the use of child soldiers, ensure their demobilisation and effective disarmament and implement measures for their rehabilitation, physical and psychological recovery and reintegration into society;

  3. Calls on all States that have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (2000) to do so;

  4. Urges all States to take all appropriate measures to prevent the diversion to armed conflict of scarce economic resources that would otherwise have been used to provide for and sustain the basic rights of children;
Juvenile justice
  1. Calls on all States to take appropriate steps in accordance with the UN Beijing Rules and Riyadh Guidelines:

    (a) To ensure compliance with the principle that children should be deprived of their liberty only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time, in particular before trial, and to ensure that, if they are arrested, detained, or imprisoned, children are separated from adults;

    (b) To ensure that no child in detention is sentenced to forced labour or deprived of access to and provision of health-care services, hygiene and environmental sanitation, education and basic instruction, taking into consideration the special needs of children with disabilities;

    (c) To promote law enforcement and separate juvenile justice systems with specially trained staff that fully safeguard child rights and seek children's reintegration into society;

Street children
  1. Calls on all States, including through international cooperation:

    (a) To prevent and abolish arbitrary and summary executions, torture, all forms of violence against and exploitation of children working and/or living on the street, and other violations of their rights, and to bring the offenders to justice;

    (b) To adopt and implement policies for the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of these children, and to adopt economic and social remedies to the problems of children working and/or living on the street;

    (c) To protect refugee children, unaccompanied children seeking asylum and internally displaced children, who are particularly exposed to risks in connection with armed conflict, such as recruitment, sexual violence and exploitation;

    (d) To pay particular attention to programmes for voluntary repatriation and, wherever possible, local integration and resettlement, to give priority to family tracing and reunification and, where appropriate, to cooperate with international humanitarian and refugee organisations;


The world parliamentary community represented by the IPU pledges, in the light of the forthcoming UN General Assembly Special Assembly on Children, to take appropriate measures with a view to ensuring effective promotion and protection of the rights of the child. In this connection, the IPU urges all parliaments to take action, at national and international level:

(a) To establish and/or strengthen the relevant legislative framework;

(b) To ensure that adequate financial and other resources are allocated to the promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of children and to see to it that they are utilised in the most efficient and transparent manner;

(c) To legislate in order to bring pressure to bear on their respective governments and all interested parties, to prevent the transfer abroad of funds illegally acquired by corrupt leaders and, where such transfers have taken place, to ensure repatriation to their countries of origin, so that they may be allocated to programmes for the promotion of children's welfare;

(d) To institute mechanisms within the IPU for the monitoring, analysis, evaluation and exchange of information on parliamentary action in the context of the promotion and protection of children's rights, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Note: you can download a complete electronic version of the brochure "Results of the 106th Conference and related meetings of the Inter-Parliamentary Union" in PDF format (file size approximately 454K). This version requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download free of charge.Get Acrobat Reader

IPU Statutory Conferences | Home page | Main areas of activity | Structure and functioning