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December 08, 2019

Thirty years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child was put in place by the UN and signed by a large number of countries, a new UN report says there has been an improvement in the condition...

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Thirty years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child was put in place by the UN and signed by a large number of countries, a new UN report says there has been an improvement in the condition of children. Over the past 25 years in South Asia, child marriages have fallen from 59 percent to 30 percent. There is also a marked increase in the enrollment of children in primary schools with only 40 percent of children still remaining out of classrooms. However, the report warns there is no room for complacency. Poverty and conflict continue to adversely affect thousands of children and while the rate of immunization against preventable diseases has increased 15,000 children under the age of five still die around the world every day from diseases that can be treated or prevented. New risks to children have also surfaced. These include the threat to their survival forced by climate change and issues such as online bullying which have in a growing number of cases led very young children to committing suicide. The report warns that the gains made need to be sustained by protecting children from other harmful practices that have emerged.

The report also states the gender disparity remains a problem as far as access to primary education is concerned especially in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. It also points out that parental doubts about the value of immunization for children at risk and have led to the re-emergence of diseases that had been virtually wiped out. The inequity between children is also noted with children from poorer household twice as likely to die before they reach their fifth birthday compared to children from more affluent households. In some countries poorer children are three times as likely to die before the age of five compared to their richer counterparts.

The study gives us an insight into the lives of children across the globe. Quite obviously, the failure to share resources in a more just manner takes a terrible toll on children. It is also unfortunate that preventable disease still claims thousands of lives each year with anti-vaccination campaigns on the rise even in developed countries. In addition, threats that have emerged from cyberspace, including online bullying and child pornography, need to be guarded against by setting up better barriers and better cooperation between countries. Only if we are able to achieve this will the progress of the last 30 years continue and our children made a little safer within their environments.



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