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Children Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Reach

A Roma boy washes car windows in Tirana
© UNICEF Albania/04-0416/G. Pirozzi
A Roma boy washes car windows in Tirana

Tirana, 24 May 2006 – Children are suffering from social exclusion and discrimination and have become virtually invisible in Albania, UNICEF said today in a report that explores the root causes of exclusion in the country. 

“Excluded and Invisible” is the subject of the State of the World’s Children 2006 report. In fact,  millions of children are forgotten; their rights – to survival health, education, protection and participation among others – are not met.

Many of these children are invisible right before our eyes; these are children lacking parental care, children with disabilities, children who have been trafficked and who are working in the street, unregistered children and children confined because of blood feud. Children who are not necessarily poor also face exclusion- on the basis of gender, ethnicity or disability, as well as those who suffer physical or mental abuse and neglect.

“The State of Albania’s Children 2006 Excluded and Invisible” report finds that exclusion in Albania is a result of poverty, migration, weak governance, slow decentralization, insufficient policies and inadequate implementation of laws.      

 “The point of this report is not to catalogue all the known causes of exclusion, neglect and abuse, but to draw attention to the fact that a considerable number of  children in Albania are not growing up with the basic protection and dignity they deserve,” says Carrie Auer, UNICEF Representative in Albania.

According to the Living Standards Measurements Survey (2002), one third of children live in poverty (less than $2 a day per person), and almost half of the poor are under 21 years of age.

Disparities between rural and urban areas show that the highest rates of poverty are found among children from Roma and Egyptian families, rural children, children with unemployed parents and children from families headed by women or with more than three children.

Neonatal deaths account for the most significant number of infant and child deaths. The rate of malnutrition in rural areas is 35 per cent, double the rate of 17 per cent in urban areas.

Education is the key to a child’s future but only about 2 children in 10 from poor families enroll in secondary school, compared to 5 children in 10 among the non – poor.

The report calls for more attention to the children who are not registered at birth, those that do not appear in official statistics and are not acknowledged as members of their society.

A series of simple and proven interventions can be implemented immediately which would dramatically increase the chances of meeting the Millennium Development Goals. It would also fulfill all children’s rights as it is laid out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for which the Albanian government bears primary responsibility to reach all children. This report outlines concrete actions that can be taken by the government, civil society, the private sector, donors and the media to meet children’s needs:

1. Strengthening legal reform as well as efforts to implement it. 
2. Ensuring coordination among government sectors at central, regional and local level to implement policies aimed at realizing child rights.
3. Promoting local government participation in making and implementing child rights policies.
4. Establishing a comprehensive, disaggregated data collection system based on indicators that accurately measure the situation of children, especially for at-risk children.

These and other efforts by people and organizations at all levels of society help to build a protective environment for children – one that protects children from abuse in the same way that immunization and adequate nutrition protect them from disease.

The report is produced by the Center for Economic and Social Studies and supported by UNICEF office in Tirana.


For further information please contact

Arlinda Ymeraj Social Policy officer orAnila Miria asst Communication officer at UNICEF: 273 336.7.8.9 –ext 18
069 20 29 021




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