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Just Miles From G8, UN Holds C8 Children’s Summit

Just Miles From G8 Summit, UN Holds C8 Children’s Summit on Youngsters’ Ills

New York, Jul 6 2005 11:00AM

Almost within earshot of the G8 summit of leaders of the world’s richest countries, the United Nations has held a C8 summit of children from some of the world’s poorest states with direct experience of HIV/AIDS, child labour, poor education, poverty and war to give their powerful elders advice on how to make child poverty history.

Brought together by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Dunblane, Scotland, just miles from the Gleneagles resort hosting the G8 leaders, the young people at the C8 summit laid out their recommendations yesterday after a three-day forum, calling for immediate access to free, quality education for all children, action for young people affected by HIV/AIDS and an immediate end to child poverty and exploitation.

“All G8 leaders have signed the Millennium Development Goals and we are here to remind them of their responsibilities,” Reitumetse, a 13-year-old C8 participant from Lesotho, said of the targets adopted at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 for reducing a host of socio-economic ills, such as extreme poverty and hunger, by 2015.

“If they fail to do this, they will be failing the same children that the world is counting on to move their countries forward.”

Under the banner of Make Poverty History/GCAP (Global Call to Action Against Poverty) the youngsters united to urge the leaders to prioritize children in their discussions. What children need from wealthy nations at the G8 is justice -- a package of debt reduction, aid flow and trade justice policies to help their communities prosper, they said.

The reasons for change could not be more simple, they added. At stake is one preventable child death every three seconds, 20 each minute, 1,200 an hour; 29,000 a day; day after day.

“Action is vital,” they declared, “because nearly 11 million children die every year from preventable diseases, because more than 100 million children are unable to go to school, because there are 15 million children orphaned by AIDS around the world, because 1 billion children are living in poverty around the globe, because we can’t accept this any longer, because it doesn’t have to be like this.”


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