Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on the occasion of the International Children`s Day - June 1, 1998

Dear children!

I cordially congratulate you, all children of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the International Children\'s Day, wish you happiness, joyful and long life, happy future, and many successes.

Children are dear for everyone in the world. Protection and care for children are of particular importance all over the world. It is not accidental that the International Children\'s Day is marked across the world for decades, while every state considers protection of children as its main task.

There is special love and attitude towards the children in Azerbaijan. One of our most notable features and traditions inherited from our forefathers is our special attitude towards the children. This is why, the Azerbaijani families usually have many children. This is simply due to the fact that the Azerbaijanis, both men and women, are very fond of children. Despite hard financial difficulties sometimes, people still want to have children. Many children, not one or two. They do their best to take care of their children. One of the most beautiful traditions is that not only the parents, but also all the people take a special care of children and consider bringing up the children the meaning of their lives. By saying these words, I want to declare to the whole world how children are taken care of in our country. Child care and protection are our sacred duty; it is the main task of our state, our society and every citizen.

We solve many problems of the independent Azerbaijan. Among the most important problems is the child care, child protection and education. So far we can be proud of the achievements in our country. But at the same time, we should admit we have flaws, shortages and mistakes. I mean, our state, society and citizens have not yet paid the desired attention to the children. We should increase our activities in this sphere and do even more.

Every parent should accept and fulfill care of and attention to all children, not only their own children. Our country had human losses - victims and martyrs as a result of the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the consequent conflict ten years ago. Unfortunately, even small children became victims of that tragedy and in the 20 January event in 1990. Children were killed also during the Khojaly genocide committed by the Armenians against the Azerbaijani people. This is the grief and pain of our society. As a result of the conflict and Armenia\'s occupation of our lands a big part of our population has become displaced and most of them are now dwelling in tent camps; a lot of children and babies have been forced to live in tents for years. They live, grow up and get education in tents. Our life has such disturbing, constraining features.

There are a lot of parentless children in our country. They live, grow up and get education in orphanages. It must always be in the center of attention. We take care of children, paying attention, first of all, to parentless, displaced and physically weak children, as well as to the children of martyrs. This is the duty of our state, our society and every citizen.

Despite such difficulties, the number of talented children, who grow and study in Azerbaijan, is increasing. Dear children, on this stage you have just demonstrated how talented you are. Dear children, I congratulate you. With your achievements today especially on music, song and art, you have displayed how talented you and the contemporary Azerbaijani children are. Dear children, I congratulate you for your achievements and wish you new successes in developing your talent in education and art. I thank the teachers, nurses and all the Azerbaijani citizens involved in childcare, education and problems of children in schools, orphanages, kindergartens, special and musical schools.

Dear children, you are taking your first steps in your lives. You are very young, yet so talented and capable. You have got brilliant future. Of course, this future depends on you, as well as on your parents and teachers. I hope that you and every Azerbaijani engaged in growing up the children as valuable citizens of Azerbaijan will further increase efforts.

Dear children, you were born at the end of the 20th century. You are to be build, create and develop the independent Azerbaijan in the 21st century. We pass Azerbaijan to you. I am sure that today`s children are able to secure a happy future for Azerbaijan. I have no doubt that they can perceive their tasks. By taking advantage of their education and talent in different spheres, of their will and abilities, our children and youth will be able to secure that bright future for Azerbaijan. I am sure of it; I feel happy when seeing the talent, knowledge and will of the children everywhere in Azerbaijan. I feel happy because the future of Azerbaijan is more dear than for the other citizens of Azerbaijan. Therefore, I am happy and I believe that our children and youth will become worthy and valuable citizens of Azerbaijan, defend and develop Azerbaijan in future.

Dear children, I kiss and hug you. I would like to express my love and gratitude to you for your words. Dear children, I will do my best to deserve your words about me and fulfill your dreams and wishes.

Dear children and youth!

I wish you, all the Azerbaijani children long life, happiness and bright future. Thank you.