Thursday, March 17, 2005

the world's children

The movement for the rights of children, initiated in 1919, worked for more than 70 years to push for the charter recognising the rights of the children. In 1989, leaders of most of the nations in the world signed this document in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, accepting to protect and cherish their children. The charter embodied the entire set of rights listed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As the countries signed the pledge, the children cheered from the galleries.

Now that we are in the much-trumpeted next millennium, here is a quick review of what has been happening since the signing of the charter.

A majority of the people living under the poverty line are women and children. The majority of civilians killed in conflict are women and children. The population most vulnerable to the pandemic of HIV/AIDS is that of the women and children.

This is from the annual report published by the
UNICEF on the children of the world.

State Of The World’s Children (2000)

“….In the last 20 years, at the same time that the world economy increased exponentially, the number of people living in poverty grew to more than 1.2 billion, or 1 in every 5 persons, including more than 600 million children.

In the last 15 years, denial and an unconscionable silence have allowed the HIV/AIDS pandemic to kill millions and decimate societies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

And in the last 10 years, the rape of women and girls and the systematic slaughter of civilians, including children, have become conventional weapons of war in every region of the world where conflicts rage…..”

1999: “ …. 31 million refugees and displaced persons – mostly displaced children and women – were caught in the conflicts that ravaged the world, searching in vain for a safe haven, fleeing inhumane circumstances and ruthless attacks by mortar and machete, rape and dismemberment….”

“And where women’s rights are at risk, children’s rights are too.”

“To be a girl born into poverty is to endure discrimination many times over in pervasive and insidious patterns. From the moment of girls’ conception, their rights are in peril. There may be as many as 60 million “missing women” in the world who, except for the gender discrimination that starts before they are born and continues throughout their lives, would be alive today.” *

* in 2003, the figure stood at 100 million.

“It is disturbing to imagine what awaits a child of 6 when his parents place him in debt bondage in exchange for a loan of seed or shelter……It is almost unfathomable to think of a girl from the Nepalese mountains who, sold by her impoverished parents to an agents offering employment in a carpet factory, instead finds herself in a windowless room in Calcutta or Mumbai with other girls, forced to have sex with as many as 2 dozen adult clients a day.”

“Inequities between the rich and poor:

1. As the world’s currency markets exchange $ 1.5 trillion each day, more than 1.2 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day – more than 600 million of them children.

2. While the average per capita income in 40 countries has grown by more than 3% each year since 1990, 55 countries have seen a decline during the same period and more than 80 countries now have per capita incomes lower than a decade ago.

3. The richest fifth of the world’s population enjoys a share of the global income that is 74 times that of the poorest fifth.

4. Income inequality has increased in most OECD countries since 1980.

5. An estimated 12% of the people living in the richest countries in the world are affected by poverty.”



Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

Rather sad picture huh ? As far as India is concerned the only sensible solution to reduce poverty is to control population. This I am sure will eradicate most of our ills. A better political system and better politicians would also be of great help.

7:40 am  
Anonymous Misha said...

ITs interesting how the size of our population is considered the root cause for most of our problems. And obviously here in India its all too simple to blame goverment agencies for not being good enough at spreading awareness.But here's one theory,every race goes through what is called a demographic peak where its size booms. It happened early for the anglo-saxons and that gave rise to all those "world-discovering" expeditions. Its happening to the dravidian race now.....So is it ok to entirely blame the government agencies and the system?

9:46 am  
Blogger m. said...


@vitalstatistix: agree in part that a better system would be of help... we may check pop growth in future, but what do we do with the "excess" population? the delhi slums soln is very scary... dead against it.

@misha: bingo! i wouldnt hold the govt agencies entirely to blame... but the system of a consumerist culture, yes i would. because that does not ever consider sustainable development.

well burn up resources if we keep up this pace of consumption - which, lets remember, has been increasing only for the already well-offs! the poor get a worse deal everyday...

6:00 pm  
Blogger Vitalstatistix said...

@misha, thnx for the info on the demographic peak. But back then when the anglo-saxons peaked, the world wasn't fully explored and the increasing population found new lands to relocate to. However the Dravidian race which seems to be peaking now (according to you) has nowhere but peninsular India or maybe India to move around. Satellite images have proved that we have explored all that can be explored on Earth. Unless Mars or some other planet, were to provide habitable conditions, the population boom is not going to be advantageous in anyway.

@m, population control is not an immediate solution. Probably it will take two or more generations to make a difference. But tell me, is there a faster and feasible solution ?

7:01 am  
Anonymous Misha said...

First,by dravidian i actually meant indian in general....wrong terminology there.Sorry.
But you made the point i was trying to make. This whole population crisis is a problem....accepted......but there's only so much we can do to curtail it. Its a nature thing. So tis rather irritating when the western world makes the deal they are making of it. When they were baby-booming they went gallavanting all over the world. Now we have nowhere left to go!

12:29 am  
Blogger m. said...

@vitalstatistix : can we afford to look only at faster solutions at the cost of injustice?

if we decide to play god and bump off the excess population, what parameters will we use? who decides who gets to live and how? nazi science is never too far.

thats why i think we should focus on sustainable development, and also education so that people may be self disciplined. when the state takes up such a task it ceases to be a democracy.

11:18 pm  

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