Opinion Editorial: No child should be left behind: As we progress, everyone pull forward together!
By Dr. Karen Allen, UNICEF Pacific Representative
Twenty five years ago something wonderful happened for children of every nation and generation with the launch of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 193 countries –including every country in the Pacific -- have acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, making it the most agreed global Convention in history. Some of the important rights that were pledged for all children were the right to a name and nationality, a right to education, a right to be free from violence and a right to be healthy.
There has been good progress in the Pacific in fulfilling children’s rights– progress to be proud of, progress that is visible in the happy, healthy faces of children. More children live to their fifth birthday, more children go to school, more children are being registered at birth and more children have access to clean water and improved sanitation.
Sadly, though, data show us that far too many children are left behind. This marginalization is hidden by statistical averages, which show overall improvement but mask disparities within countries. In the Pacific, the children not registered at birth, not accessing health care, dropping out of school, lacking sufficient clean water and toilets,, and even missing life- saving vaccinations and other essential health care, are more likely to be from low income households that are in urban informal settlements and on remote islands. Violence against children and women, by contrast, occurs in households of all income levels and locations.
This year – the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child – UNICEF challenges the world to think differently about how to drive change for the world’s hardest to reach and most vulnerable children. The year the Convention was born,
Reaching all children means knowing how far we have come, and where we need to go. That requires solid, reliable evidence. UNICEF’s celebration of the CRC kicked off on 30 January with the release of the State of the World’s Children in Numbers. This flagship publication is the premier source of data and information on child well-being around the world. Solid, reliable data show us how far we have come, and where we need to go. They make change possible by providing an evidence base for action, investment and accountability.
Let’s look at the data in SOWC for each country, and use it to guide investments to realize the rights of all children everywhere: let no child be left behind.