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Sri Lankan Legislators join South Asian Lawmakers to prioritise and safeguard Children’s rights: UN Chief

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Colombo, March 6, 2017: Sri Lankan legislators have joined lawmakers from across South Asia to prioritise and safeguard children’s rights, the UN children’s agency Unicef said on Monday.

According to the Unicef, despite economic growth and improvements in realising the rights of children, massive disparities still exist, preventing children from living in dignity, reaching their full potential and making choices about their futures.

Sri Lanka, home to eight million children under 18, has some of the region’s best health indicators, almost universal primary schooling, with nearly 90 per cent of the population having access to safe drinking water, Xinhua news agency reported.

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However, Unicef noted that violence against children, including physical abuse at home, remains a concern. While the rate of extreme poverty is declining (by 16 per cent between 2002 and 2012), child poverty rates remain higher.

“Even though our indicators are really good, we still have issues like child marriage, school dropouts and migration affecting children,” said Sudarshani Fernandopulle, an MP.

“Children remain at the heart of a country’s development and future economic growth. We need to invest more in policy reform and budgetary allocation in order to address the remaining disparities that prevent every child, especially the most vulnerable and marginalised, from reaching their full potential,” she said at a children’s regional meeting.

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Unicef said the meeting was a milestone in bringing together lawmakers from all eight countries in South Asia to prioritise, promote, and safeguard children’s rights.

It was an opportunity to plug in the critical role that parliamentarians can play in tackling key development challenges affecting children within the larger framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, it said. (IANS)

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69,000 babies born on New Year’s day in India: Unicef

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69,000 babies born on New Year's day in India: Unicef
69,000 babies born on New Year's day in India: Unicef. wikimedia commons
United Nations, Jan 2, 2018: The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has estimated that nearly 386,000 babies were born on New Year’s Day, with India heading the list with 69,070.
More than 90 percent of the births took place in less developed regions, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Unicef reported that globally over half the births were estimated to have taken place in nine countries: India (69,070), China (44,760), Nigeria (20,210), Pakistan (14,910), Indonesia(13,370), the US (11,280), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (9,400), Ethiopia (9,020) and Bangladesh (8,370).
Among those children, some will unfortunately not make it past their first day.
In 2016, an estimated 2,600 children died within the first 24 hours every day of the year. Unicef said that for almost two million newborns, their first week was also their last.
In all, 2.6 million children died before the end of their first month. Among them, more than 80 percent died from preventable and treatable causes such as premature birth, complications during delivery and infections like sepsis and pneumonia.
Over the past two decades, the world has seen unprecedented progress in child survival, halving the number of children worldwide who die before their fifth birthday to 5.6 million in 2016.
But despite these advances, there has been slower progress for newborns. Babies dying in the first month account for 46 percent of all deaths among children under five.
Next month, Unicef will launch “Every Child Alive,” a global campaign to demand and deliver affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn.
These solutions include a steady supply of clean water and electricity at health facilities, presence of a skilled health attendant during birth, disinfecting the umbilical cord, breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child. (IANS)