Launch of The State of the World’s Children 2005 Report
The State of the World’s Children 2005CHILDHOOD UNDER THREAT
Childhood Years being Destroyed by Poverty, Conflict and AIDS – says UNICEF
Hanoi, 9 December 2004: Despite the near universal embrace of standards for protecting childhood, a new UNICEF report shows that more than half the world’s children are suffering extreme deprivations from poverty, war and HIV/AIDS, conditions that are effectively denying children a childhood and holding back the development of nations.
The report stresses the importance of Governments to live up to the standards of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child – the world’s most widely adopted human rights treaty. Failure to do so, causes permanent damage to children and in turn blocks progress towards human rights, economic advancement and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The global report – entitled “Childhood Under Threat” – examines three of the most widespread and devastating factors threatening childhood today – HIV/AIDS, conflict and poverty.
Launching the report in English and Vietnamese, the UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam, Mr Anthony Bloomberg, acknowledged that in Viet Nam, the Government has made impressive progress in reducing poverty and its commitment to children’s rights through its early ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been well documented. “Yet, inequalities and deprivations continue. The main challenge for the Vietnamese Government is to ensure that the reduction in poverty is achieved as widely as possible across all social, economic and ethnic groups so that all girls and boys in Viet Nam experience a childhood of love, protection and care,” continued Mr Bloomberg. “This means an ongoing commitment to investing in children and to properly resourcing health, water, education and social services.”
Drawing on research from the London School of Economics and the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, the UNICEF report argues that children experience poverty differently from adults and that traditional income and consumption measures do not capture how poverty actually impacts on childhood. The report identifies seven basic ‘deprivations’ that impact on children. These are: access to adequate shelter; access to sanitation; access to safe water; access to information; access to health care services, access to education and access to enough food.
• Nearly 17 million children ( 52 percent) with no safe water. Regional/provincial disparities exist. For example, 87.2% of ethnic minority people do not have access to clean water. (Source: Viet Nam Households Living Standards Survey (VHLSS) 2002)
In Viet Nam, poverty and HIV/AIDS continue to tear at the very fabric of childhood. For many children the promise of childhood, laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, will not be fulfilled. They will not inherit their right to a childhood of love, care and protection in a family environment nor be encouraged to reach their full potential. There is a risk that when these children become adults and parents, the same threats to childhood will be replicated from one generation to the next. The State of the World’s Children says it is time to put children first.
Putting Children First
The State of the World’s Children argues that bridging the gap between the ideal childhood and the reality experienced by many children is a matter of choice. It requires:
The full State of the World’s Children, in both English and Vietnamese can now be viewed on UNICEF Viet Nam’s NEW website, which is being launched today to coincide with the launch of the UNICEF report – go to www.unicef.org/vietnam/ (English version) or www.unicef.org/vietnam/vi/ (Vietnamese version)- to find out more about The State of the World’s Children as well as UNICEF’s activities in Viet Nam. The English and Vietnamese website is the first UNICEF website in the world to be bi-lingual.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Sue Spencer, UNICEF Communication Section firstname.lastname@example.org