News

UNICEF says Children's Lives Are Improving

But 20 years after the adoption of a treaty guaranteeing children's rights, hundreds of millions still go without basics like food and health care, and violence against children remains a global problem.

It's 20 years since the United Nations adopted a treaty guaranteeing children's rights and now the U.N. says children's lives have been transformed during those two decades. But it says there's a lot still to be done - to this day hundreds of millions go without basics like food and health care and violence against children remains a global problem. Selah Hennessy brings us this report from London.

The United Nations Children's Fund, commonly known as UNICEF, released a special report to mark this 20th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 
VOA spoke to the author of the report, David Anthony. He said globally the lives of children have improved over the last 20 years.
 
"During its era, we have seen tremendous progress in child survival and development," he said. "For example, on average 10,000 fewer children now die every day than they did in 1990 - that's something that saves countless of millions of lives over the years."

The report lists a series of positive statistics showing great leaps in children's quality of life. It says globally 84 percent of primary-school-age children are in class and the gender gap is narrowing. And important steps have been taken, it says, to protect children from serving as soldiers or being trafficked into prostitution.

But Anthony adds there is still a long way to go. He says as many as one billion children still live without basic necessities such as clean water and food. And he says more needs to be done in the fields of protection and participation - the right of all children to have their opinions taken into account.

These problems, Anthony says, are global.

"You find that violence is something that no society can say it's immune from," he said. "I think protection in particular, and participation, are things which the industrialized countries, and the richer countries, cannot feel any great superiority over the developing countries and the least developed countries."

More than 70 countries have adopted the convention's principles into their own legal codes. Only two countries in the world, Somalia and the United States, have not ratified the treaty.  The U.S. has been slow to approve the Convention because of fears of government interference in family life.
 
Anthony says although the convention has the widest support of any human rights treaty, not all countries are implementing its basic principles.
 
"One of the main emphasis of this report has been implementation," he said. "Countries who ratify the treaties - who sign the treaties - then have an obligation to implement them and the symbolism I think of endorsement is most welcome but the more important thing is that all countries apply the principles that are embodied within the convention and to ensure that all of their children have their rights met."

The report says despite progress, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from largely preventable causes. And it says 150 million children between five and 14 are engaged in child labor.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs