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It is literally a matter of life or death

Media Release
23 November

It is literally a matter of life or death

Anti poverty campaigner Bono and the U2 band have arrived in New Zealand. If U2’s recent concerts around the world are any indication then 80,000 of us will be exposed over the next 48 hours to devastating images of extreme poverty. ChildFund New Zealand implores New Zealanders to listen to Bono’s message. His message is strong and compelling, but more to the point it is true.

ChildFund is also calling on the New Zealand government to honour the commitment made in 2000 to the Millennium Development Summit Goals.

Every day more than 30,000 children die because they were born into poverty. Childfund’s National Director Paul Brown says, “Millions and millions of children live in poverty every day. They are abandoned, malnourished, uneducated, discriminated against, and vulnerable, and we as global citizens are failing these children by failing to act.”

In 1989, New Zealand adopted the most highly endorsed human rights treaty in history confirming the Rights of the Child. This treaty was ratified by the UN General Assembly and 192 other countries. In 2000, the world leaders of 189 countries, including New Zealand, reaffirmed the significance of this treaty and committed to a timetable of Millennium Development Goals to be reached by 2015.

“By signing the Millennium Development Goals New Zealand agreed to address extreme poverty, hunger, child and maternal mortality, and death from preventable diseases by 2015, by contributing 0.7% of our Gross National Income to international aid and development. Today our contribution stands at only 0.27% with no time table in place to meet our commitment by 2015.

“We now need to face up to our responsibilities and show the rest of the world we are committed to ending child poverty and will honour our commitment of contributing 0.7% of our gross national income by 2015.

“There needs to be a clear timeline and make this a reality. If, by 2015, the 189 signatories to the Millennium Development Goals have not faced up to their responsibilities, it will be on our consciences that an estimated 30 million children will not see their 5th birthdays, that 500 million people will remain in poverty, and that 250 million people will continue to go hungry.

“By meeting the Millennium Development Goals people in poverty – especially those who are most vulnerable: children - the world over will get access to clean water, to primary education, to adequate nutrition, gender equality and environmental sustainability.

“New Zealanders like to be the underdog that comes through. Now the stakes are so high we have to find it in our hearts to fight for what is right. It will literally mean the difference between life and death for millions up on millions of people. I implore New Zealanders to hear Bono’s message and speak up.”


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