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.”
Labels: feminist issues