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UNICEF acknowledges achievements in children’s rights protection in Ukraine

© Copyright: UNICEF Ukraine/2005/R.Few
UNICEF calls to join efforts to improve the lives of children and families in Ukraine

19 November 2009, Kyiv -  Today, on the eve of the 20th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Minister for Family, Youth and Sport of Ukraine Yuriy Pavlenko and UNICEF Representative Yukie Mokuo conducted the joint press conference on the state of the children’s rights protection in country. This day UNICEF has announced the key achievements and challenges in children’s rights protection in Ukraine.

According to UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Yukie Mokuo, during recent 5 years the significant progress has been made in the sphere of protection of the children’s rights in Ukraine. In particular, one of the key achievements is child care reform. In her opinion, the Government of Ukraine on priority basis should improve a health care system and address child poverty.

© Copyright: UNICEF

During the press-conference, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Yukie Mokuo said, “In Ukraine the number of orphans has been essentially decreased but the child poverty is still very high and needs to be addressed. Capacity of the health system to prevent and cure diseases and to address new emerging challenges needs to be strengthened. UNICEF will build up on cooperation with the Government to support in solving these issues to benefit the well-being of children in Ukraine”.  

UNICEF observes the following achievements in the sphere of protection of children’s rights:

  1. Development of child care reform system. National adoption of children-orphans and children deprived of parental care increased by 40% (from 1,419 in 2005 to 2,066 in 2008). The number of children in foster families and child homes of family type also increased almost by 6 times (from 1,182 in 2004 to 7,035 in the Q1 2009).
  2. Increase of birth grants and social cash benefits in the case of adoption of a child.
  3. Progress in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS. The rate of the transmission reduced from 27% in 2000 to 7% in 2007 according to official Ministry of Health statistics.
  4. High enrolment in secondary education (around 88%) and high level of spending for education (6.2% of GDP in 2007).
  5. Adoption of the Law of Ukraine National Plan of Action for Children to Implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child till 2016 and in October 2009 the State Programme to implement the Law in 2010 was adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers. Adoption of these documents allows introduction of systemic, integrated approach to the protection of children’s rights.

Among the key challenges and tasks to be addressed for the benefit of children in Ukraine, UNICEF points out the following ones:

  1. Child poverty needs to be addressed. According to the official statistics in 2008 level of poverty for families with one child was 26.4%, families with two children – 42.0%, families with many (4+) children – 76.4%. Recent years only 1.4% of GDP have been channeled to children and families with children.
  2. Capacity of the health system needs to be strengthened: since 1990 a share of people defined as “healthy” declined from 62.6% in 1990 to 24.3% in 2007. In particular, it is important to ensure the health care for children and strengthen the prevention of infectious diseases through immunization.
  3. Prevention of the HIV/AIDS prevalence among children and young people. HIV infection in Ukraine is very much a youth problem with 25 per cent of those infected below the age of 25. More than half of most-at-risk adolescents are at high risk of HIV infection.
  4. Improvement of the system of social protection of children and focused attention to the vulnerable groups:  street children, victims of sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS–affected children, children with disabilities.
  5. Development and implementation of juvenile justice system in order to effectively protect rights of children in contact/conflict according to the international standards.

Concluding her statement, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine Yukie Mokuo emphasized: “Only joint efforts of Government, civil society and international organisations, business and communities leaders will ensure that these challenges are effectively addressed and guarantee full implementation of child rights in Ukraine according to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. Let’s unite to make difference for the children in Ukraine”.

For more details about the project, please contact: Veronika Vashchenko, Communication Officer, UNICEF Ukraine,  +38-044-254-2450, +38-067-927-6038,



Convention on the Rights of the Child: On 20 November 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), establishing one set of fundamental rights for all children and young people. It was ratified by 193 states, except the United States and Somalia. In 2009 the world community is celebrating 20th anniversary of the CRC.

Ukraine has made a number of commitments to improve the wellbeing of children - particularly by signing the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. On 27 February 1991 the Convention was ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine decree №789XII (78912) and it came into force for Ukraine on 27 September 1991. Also, in 2003 and 2005 respectively two Optional Protocols to the UN CRC - on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography and on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict - were ratified by the Parliament of Ukraine and became an integral part of Ukraine national legislation.



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in over 190 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997. More information about UNICEF activities in Ukraine: 



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