UNICEF: An increasing number of children are living in slums

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Monday, March 5, 2012

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UNICEF published a new report titled, "THE STATE OF THE WORLD’S CHILDREN 2012 — Children in an Urban World". According to the report, every third city child today lives in a slum and has no access to adequate food, drinking water, education and medical care.

About one billion children and adolescents, and thus half of all children and adolescents, are living in cities. The continuing urbanization makes the cities of the world grow annually by about 60 million people. The needs and rights of children and adolescents are, according to UNICEF, often disregarded and play no significant role in urban planning. In order to give children a voice in urban decision-making processes, UNICEF has worked on the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative.

The report describes the effects of poverty with regard to malnutrition, poor hygiene, educational inequality and vulnerability; social inequality also leads to crime and violence. The infant mortality in poor slums is higher than in some rural areas.

Often between 50 and 80 percent of the income of a family are required for nutrition and access to existing health services; in the cities this is not possible, so diseases such as measles, tuberculosis and other diseases avoidable by vaccination are becoming dangerously prevalent again.

On February 28, 18 countries signed an additional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that gives children the right to appeal to the United Nations if their human rights have been violated and domestic remedies have been exhausted.