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13 Jul 2010
EveryChild has led a coalition of nine children’s charities to warn that the goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015 is unlikely to be realised unless more emphasis is given to children’s rights to be loved and cared for in a family, and to be free from exploitation, abuse, neglect and violence.
In a new report, ‘Protect for the Future’, the charities – led by EveryChild and including ChildHope, Consortium for Street Children, The International Children’s Trust, International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Railway Children, Retrak, Save the Children and War Child – are calling on world leaders to put the right to care and protection alongside the right to survival, health and education in their efforts to improve the lives of millions of the world’s poorest and most disadvantaged children.
We are launching the report today, at the House of Commons on 13 July, just two months before the UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals in September, to discuss progress towards the goals of alleviating child poverty, increasing access to education, improving maternal and child health, and reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015.
There are currently 24 million children around the world who are living without parental care, including orphans trying to bring up younger siblings, street children, children in institutions or living with relatives who do not care for them properly. Their survival is often threatened by risk of malnutrition, abuse and exploitation and their childhood and future lost by missing out on school. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa up to a third of children fall into this group, and the number is growing.
Stories such as this one from a 13-year-old boy living on the streets in Cambodia, are typical of the dangers faced by children who are alone:
‘One boy in my gang knew a way of making fast money… he encouraged me to go with him and his friends. They met a German tourist, he was about 30, and he paid them $2-5 to sexually abuse them. I would not join in; I just kind of hung out with them… After a few months, I saw more kids getting paid to do this. I needed the money and wanted to be like my older mates.’
The report calls on the Department for International Development (DfID) and other agencies to invest more in protecting children whilst adhering to the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children. DfID and other agencies should design social protection schemes that seek to reduce poverty in the most vulnerable households and are sensitive to children’s care and protection.