World unfair for poorest, most disadvantaged children, says UNICEF

KATHMANDU: A newly unveiled report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) states that the world remained a deeply unfair place to the poorest and most disadvantaged children despite major advances since adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

The report - 'For every child, a fair chance: The promise of equity' - unveiled today attempts to offer a statistical picture of how the world's most marginalised children have fared against basic human development indicators.

According to the report, more than 660 million children have no access to safe drinking water in the globe, in which nearly half of them reside in sub-Saharan Africa.

Similarly, more than 2.5 billion people across the globe still do not have adequate toilets where 40 per cent of them are in South Asia, the report states.

Likewise, girls from the poverty-stricken family are four times more likely to get married before 18 as those from the richest families.

The report further states that girls from the poorest families are two times more likely, as against those from the richest families, to die before they reach the age of  five and five times more likely to leave their school mid-way, the UNICEF report notes.

“Such vast inequities fuel a vicious intergenerational cycle of poverty and disadvantage,” said Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF.

"For every child, a fair chance makes the case for closing persistent gaps in equity," said Lake, arguing that investing in children, particularly the most vulnerable ones, is right in principle and right in practice. Such investment brings multiple benefits not only to children but also to their families, communities and economies, he added.

An impressive team of UNICEF Ambassadors are raising their voices or activating their social media networks to help spur action for the world’s most vulnerable children as part of UNICEF’s Fight Unfair campaign, according to the report.

“It is shocking to think that one in nine children lives in a country affected by armed conflict, witnessing horrific violence and having their rights to survival, health and education destroyed,” said Orlando Bloom, British actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

“I travelled with UNICEF to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia to see how war is driving children and their families from their homes. The world is facing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II."