Tue, 14 May 2002

Listen to voice of children from UN children forum

Everyone in the world, particularly governments and parents, are reminded to take more positive action to save children from the dangers of famine, malnutrition, poverty, disease, war and abuse.

The warning, which sounds more like an appeal, found its echo last week at the UN Children Forum held at the UN headquarters in New York, U.S.A. The forum was attended by some 400 child delegates from all over the world.

For the first time ever, children were intentionally invited to a UN meeting. They were allowed to speak and voice complaints directly. For many years, UN meetings about children were usually held without the presence of children.

More surprisingly, the data show that about 150 million of a total of two billion children across the world suffer from malnutrition. Nearly 11 million children under five years old die annually and more than 120 million cannot attend school. Some 10 million offspring, meanwhile, die from illnesses every year and another 300,000 are involved in warfare.

Therefore, it is highly important to establish a movement to defend children's human rights and their other necessities of life.

The idea of establishing a permanent fund to improve the fate of poor people and children has also come up. There is now a stronger wish to change the lot of poor people and children. And here is a statement that the children themselves made at the UN forum for children: Leaders must not just make promises; they must take real action to translate these promises into reality."

-- Kompas, Jakarta