Directly related to this, a new study by UNICEF informs us that extreme poverty threatens the lives of more than a billion children (half the world’s under-18 population) around the world.
More than one billion children do not have access to at least one of seven commodities deemed essential: shelter, water, sanitation, schooling, information, health care and food, according to “The State of the World’s Children” report, launched Thursday in London.
UNICEF pointed the finger at governments for making things worse, for example by choosing to go to war, and for failing to do enough to alleviate the already existing problems.
“Childhood is under threat, not for mysterious reasons that strain our imaginations, but because of deliberate choices made by governments and others in power. Poverty doesn’t persist because of nothing, war doesn’t emerge from nowhere, HIV doesn’t spread by choice of its own,” said Carole Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF.
Despite signing the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, many governments are failing to fulfil its principles, the report also claims.
“When half the world’s children are growing up hungry and unhealthy, when schools have become targets and whole villages are being emptied by AIDS, we’ve failed to deliver on the promise of childhood,” Bellamy added.
UNICEF said the world must pay attention, for if childhood was threatened, so was the future of many nations.” (CBC)
There are real, concrete failings that are causing rights and needs to go unfulfilled, and a large portion of the blame must fall upon our wealthy, western shoulders. As this same article details,
It said developed countries should commit 0.7 per cent of their gross national product (GNP) to foreign aid.
Canada is far from that goal, currently giving less than half the target. The United States gives even less.”
Isn’t it time to put pressure on our governments to live up to our global commitments and help to alleviate the suffering of the less fortunate? I firmly believe so and my votes and my voice will reflect this.
In more positive rights-related news, the Canadian government has taken another step toward ensuring equal rights for people who wish to have same-sex marriages. Yesterday our supreme court gave the go-ahead to passing a bill giving gays and lesbians the legal right to marry. I applaud this decision and look forward to the day when true equality of relationships and love is embraced by our government and the people of Canada. We still have a long way to go, but I have hope we can transform our society to be more just, open and free.