UN Members Have Betrayed Children: UNICEF Director
Ten years after the first World Summit for Children, the UN has found that member states have accomplished little and "children have been betrayed," according to UNICEF director Carol Bellamy.
The statement comes in a United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) report released Thursday before a special session on children at the UN general assembly in New York planned to start next Wednesday but which has been cancelled in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the US.
The 1990 children's summit established seven objectives in addition to presenting the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
These were to reduce infant and maternal mortality and malnutrition, to increase access to safe drinking water and safe means of waste disposal, to provide universal access to education and improve protection of children in "difficult circumstances," including refugees and sexually abused children.
Thursday's report found progress in most areas was insufficient, and in some areas, almost nonexistent.
In the past 10 years, the infant mortality rate has fallen by 14 percent, whereas the report had called for a 33 percent reduction, and huge disparities still exist.
Whereas six children die for every thousand born in developed countries, 172 die in African countries. The worldwide average in 2000 was 81 deaths out of 1,000 births.
The report found that there was "no change" in the state of maternal mortality, with 515,000 women dying every year within one year of giving birth.
Again, disparities exist, with one woman in 16 dying in the world's 49 least developed countries, against one in 161 in developing countries, and 1 in 4,085 in industrialized nations.
Tracking the status of children in regions around the world, from the Palestinian territories to Nagaland state in eastern India, from East Timor to Malawi, the report is a call to the international community to do more for children in terms of AIDS awareness, combating racial discrimination, sexual exploitation and vaccination programs.
Developing nations had promised in the 1990 conference to dedicate 20 percent of their disposable budget to social services. Because of the huge debts they owe to international lending institutions, they have invested only 12-14 percent.
The report says that developing countries have done no better. Only five of the 22 countries that comprise the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have donated the promised 0.7 percent of their GDP to social services.
The other 17 have donated only 0.4 percent with the US contribution at 0.1 percent – PARIS (AFP)
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