Thursday, October 8, 2009

UNICEF Report 'Progress for Children' - Never ending cruelty towards children

"Children worldwide experience violence, exploitation and abuse. They are forced to fight in wars or labour in intolerable conditions; they are sexually abused or subjected to violence as a punishment; they are forced into child marriage or trafficked into exploitative conditions of work; they are needlessly placed in prisons, detention facilities and institutions.

Children in circumstances such as these are seeing their human rights infringed in the most fundamental ways – and suffering both physical and psychological harm that has wide-reaching and sometimes irreparable effects. The elements of a healthy childhood as specified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are being denied because the world is failing to provide children the protection to which they are entitled."
These lines are from the recent UNICEF report "Progress for children: A report on child protection".

Well, you can say that "whats the new thing about it I already know that - the people living next to my door are married before 15, even I attended the marriage"; "We regularly saw children doing dangerous works which are legally prohibited, and I am keeping 'mum' about it, do the same all your problem will be solved", "Its not at all matter for me, I am protecting my children from problems, others i don't know, it their problem","its government's job not mine" etc.

For us there may not be anything new in it. We always know it, experience it, even then will not do anything to stop it. And the same people who will not care a damn for these things will be in the forefront of the protest if something gone against their interest, suddenly they will ask the public to cooperate with them for their cause.

The attitude of this passive society is the root cause of all major problems. When it comes to religious issues, reservation etc they will act like a 'do or die' situation, destroying all the things they can- Burning trains, throwing stones to public properties etc.

I still remember one of he incidents narrated by my friend, some months back he was working in Thiruvananthapuram- Capital of Kerala. There is a college and opposite that stands a 3 star hotel covered with beautiful glass. But the problem is that whenever students go on strike, one of things they will do as a ritual is to throw stones to this glasses ; needless to say the strikes are no so rare.

Society is like that, when it comes to the case of real social issues like child marriage, the same society will do the conspiracy against the innocent child. Simply they didn't saw anything wrong in it and the saga of honour killings, sexual exploitation etc going on.

Child marriages cuts their chances of education, playing and freedom. It is obvious that these innocent child are not deciding their fate neither they are hungry for sexual pleasures. but they have to suffer the result of this marriages like premature pregnancy and (according to the report) have physical, psychological, emotional and intellectual consequences). But who cares this???

According to the recent UNICEF report,
"Nearly two out of three children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are not registered"

"Children from the poorest households are twice as likely as children from the richest households to be unregistered; boys and girls are equally likely to be unregistered"
Registration is indeed a vital step regarding to child protection, because it is the foundation for all official purposes whether it is the issue of illegal recruitment by armed groups, child marriage or child labour. Proper registration will help in dealing severely against sexual exploitation.
data on physical violence compiled by the Innocenti Research Centre for the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children (2006), led to an estimate of between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experiencing violence annually.
This is against the childs, who are supposed to be the future of humanity.
"More than one third of young women 20–24 years old in developing countries have reported that they were married or in union by age 18. The proportions are highest in South Asia (46 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (39 per cent). In the six countries where child marriage is most prevalent, more than 60 per cent of women 20–24 years old married as children. Girls from poorer households are more likely to be married as children than girls from richer households."
Early marriages may result in severe intellectual, emotional, psychological consequences. Lifetime domestic violence; sexual subservience, harassment and exploitation, sexually transmitted diseases(Thee is a myth that if a man with HIV/AIDS slept with a virgin his AIDS will be cured and you know what will be the result) etc are the other results.
"Female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence against girls and women. It violates their physical and psychological integrity and thus their human rights.UNICEF estimates that more than 70 million girls and women 15–49 years old have undergone FGM/C in 28 countries in Africa, plus Yemen"
Another cruelty against girls.
"UNICEF estimates that 150 million children 5–14 years old worldwide are engaged in child labour. This estimate is based on data from 102 countries. Child labour is most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than a third of children work."
Labor or Playground? What is the face of Justice in child labour?
"The United States Government estimates that 600,000– 800,000 people are trafficked each year across international borders. Drawing on its own analysis and other three.Evidence from UNODC indicates that more than 20 per cent of victims of all trafficking, both within countries and across borders, are children."
Mind blowing numbers. In many cases these child will live one of the most miserable life humanity ever seen, deprived of childhood pleasures, education etc.
"High proportions of children experience both physical punishment and psychological aggression
UNICEF estimates that more than 1million children are detained through justice systems worldwide at any one time, this is likely to be a significant underestimate given the difficulties in obtaining data about unreported cases .Among the 44 countries for which data were available, around 59% of children in detention had not been sentenced. Only a minority of these children receive a custodial sentence, in violation of the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty according to law, as affirmed in the Convention on the Rights of the Child"
If 59% doesn't receive any sentence in the end then on what ground government will justify the detention?
"UNICEF estimates that just over 1 billion children live in countries or territories affected by armed conflict, and of these, around 300 million are under 5 years old In 2007, 72 countries recorded new victims of landmines and explosive remnants of war, and children accounted for nearly a third of these casualties."
These children are suffering the consequences of actions, for which they are not responsible in any way.
"The estimated number of children under 18 years old who have lost one or both parents due to all causes increased in Eastern and Southern Africa from 21.1 million in 2001 to 24.9 million in 2007, and 8.7 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS in this region.42 In four Southern African countries – Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe – more than a quarter of children under 15 years old are living without a parent, and in Namibia the proportion has reached more than one third."
What will be the future of these innocent ones?
"More than half of all the world’s women 20–24 years old who were married or in union by age 18 live in South Asia and more than one in three women in the world who were married as children are from India"
Obviously these girls are not married due to their extreme eagerness to experience sexual life. But marriage is forced upon thus. There will always be reasons, do we have any problems for finding reasons? Society doesn't have time to deal with these issues, they are engaged in strikes for getting more reservations, burning trains etc.
"Some 13% of all children in South Asia are engaged in child labour – around 44mn. Of these children, 29mn live in India, where the child labour rate is 12%. Within India itself there are vast divergences between states in the incidence of child labour, ranging from 32 per cent in Gujarat to 3 per cent in Goa and Kerala, indicating that the regional targeting of policies aimed at eliminating child labour is essential."
Remember these children too have a soul with ambitions, But in many cases we are using the products made up of their tears.
"The 2006 UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children estimated that, every year, between 41 million and 88 million children in the region witness violence at home –the highest regional total in the world.

Study on the impact of small arms shows that Latin America and the Caribbean has the highest rates of armed violence in the world and accounts for 42 per cent of all homicides globally. Study found that children are more frequently the victims than the perpetrators of these crimes. In Jamaica, for example, boys under 18 years old accounted for 60 per cent of victims of violence-related injury."
Children is always an easy target. Whether it is sexual or other type of violence.
"In industrialized countries It is estimated that throughout the course of their childhood,5–10 per cent of girls and up to 5 per cent of boys suffer penetrative sexual abuse, and up to three times this percentage experience some type of sexual abuse.82 Evidence suggests, however, that physical and sexual abuse may be decreasing in some settings."
Developed nations too are not completely free form this miseries.

Reports will come and go. Do we have any shortages for reports? In many cases excuses are louder than actions. Today we are reached in such a stage where goto moon is a reality. Tomarrow may be we will reach Mars but cant solve the problem of a child in street!!! Think from the angle of an innocent child they want playground, education etc not wedlock, arms, drugs and sex in early ages.


You can access the full report from - 'Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection'
Child Marriage and the Law
"Early Marriage: Child Spouses" UNICEF 2001 Report
UNICEF: Child marriages must stop
Child protection from violence, exploitation and abuse
Child Sexual abuse : The cruel face of society

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