Children around the world are experiencing fundamental infringements of their human rights, and suffering physical and psychological harm that has wide-reaching effects.
These are some of the conclusions reached by a new UNICEF report, 'Progress for Children: A Report Card on Child Protection', released by Executive Director Ann M. Veneman in Tokyo.
"A society cannot thrive if its youngest members are forced into early marriage, abused as sex workers or denied their basic rights," said Veneman.
"Understanding the extent of abuses of children's rights is a first step to building an environment where children are protected and have the opportunity to reach their full potential."
Child protection strategy
Being the 20th anniversary year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2009 is a critical year for child protection. And while many children's rights have been protected thanks to the adoption of the CRC, much work remains to be done to create a protective environment for them worldwide.
The 'Progress for Children' report has been issued in accordance with UNICEF's comprehensive strategy for child protection, adopted by the Executive Board in June 2008. Drawing upon detailed data, the new report examines both the short- and long-term implementation of that strategy.
'Progress for Children' presents the data collected so far to build a compelling case for better protection programmes in countries where millions of children are subject to trafficking, live without parental care, or lack proper documentation to attend school and receive basic health care. Additional millions of boys and girls are forced to work under harmful conditions. Still more children face violence or abuse in their homes, schools or communities, in institutions or while in detention.
Based on the available data, however, some progress is evident. For example, 'Progress for Children' notes that in Bangladesh, Guinea and Nepal - three countries where child marriage is prevalent - the median age of marriage is rising, although it is still below 18 years of age.
The report also identifies a slow decline in female genital mutilation in countries where such abuse has been common.
To read more, visit: http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_51312.html