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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

UNICEF State of World’s Children 2005 report

Queen Rania receives UNICEF State of World’s Children 2005 report

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) At a time when Jordan has children’s issues at the forefront of its national agenda, UNICEF launched the State of the World’s Children 2005 report here under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania al-Abdullah.

The report under the theme of “Childhood under Threat”, uncovers the magnitude of challenges the world has yet to tackle in order to ensure that children are not denied their childhood, with poverty, armed conflict and HIV/AIDS highlighted as the unresolved impediments to the development of children.

Queen Rania received a copy of the report from Ms. Anne Skatvedt, UNICEF Jordan Representative, marking the launch of the report in Jordan and highlighting the great strides that the country has taken in the area of children’s rights.

The State of the World’s Children report outlines a number of actions, which must be pursued to protect children. These include encouraging states to ratify and apply without reservations, treaties designed to protect children, and to bring national legislation in line with regional and international norms on children’s rights.

In this context, Ms. Skatvedt commended Jordan for having launched its National Plan of Action for Children (2004-2013) in October this year saying “it reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to harmonize its national legislation with regional and international treaties protecting children.”

Jordan also designated June 6 as National Child Safety Day – with the Jordan River Foundation launching, under Queen Rania’s patronage, the nationwide Ajyaluna Campaign to raise awareness on the issues of child abuse and neglect and their prevention.

Jordan has finalized its third report on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) committee and has been acknowledged for taking positive steps towards harmonizing its legislation with the CRC. A draft Childhood Act is currently on the Parliament’s agenda for review and endorsement. Once adopted, this Act will ensure that Jordan’s legislation truly reflects the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The government has also sent all the basic six human rights treaties, including CRC, to the Parliament for ratification.

A Jordanian human-interest story, on basic life skills as a means of protecting children, was also published to complement the report’s theme and was presented to Queen Rania by one of the children who benefited from the program.

The publication, “Children Protect Themselves,” focuses on the importance of life skills in helping adolescents, at a time when young people are most vulnerable, to protect themselves, to help understand themselves and to interact positively with others.
During the launch, attended by Chief Chamberlain HRH Prince Raad bin Zeid, Amman Mayor Nidal Hadid and a host of dignitaries, Higher Council of Youth Chairman Mamoun Noureddine underlined national efforts in spreading awareness on basic life skills and coming up with a national strategy for youth as a means for a comprehensive approach to all matters affecting this age group.

The State of the World’s Children report notes that children experience poverty differently from adults and that traditional income or consumption measurements do not capture how poverty actually impacts on childhood.

The report also states that there have been 59 armed conflicts during the past 13 years in which approximately 1.6 million children have been killed. The children of Iraq have been caught up in conflict three times during the past 20 years. Children in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are experiencing violence and mobility restrictions leading to a rapid and profound decline in their status.

The report also underlines that the opportunity to limit the spread of AIDS is through forthright national initiatives, widespread public awareness and intensive prevention efforts. The report outlines what actions must be taken to address the HIV/AIDS threat and support and care for children affected, noting 15 million children are orphaned by the disease globally.

Working towards creating a world fit for children, UNICEF Jordan has partnered over the years with the Jordanian government, NGOs, community based organisations and the private sector to promote the rights and improve the lives of children and women.

The State of the World’s Children Report is a document published and launched annually by UNICEF with a different theme each year. While the global launch of the report took place earlier this week in London focusing on the theme Childhood Under Threat, the 2004 report highlighted investing in girls’ education as a strategic way to ensure the rights of both boys and girls in order to advance a country’s development agenda,