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Millions of Children Need Standard Protection - UN

Millions Of Children Separated From Families Around World Need Standard Protection, UN Says

The millions of children who live in foster care or are separated from their families are most at risk for abuse and exploitation, and universal standards are needed for dealing with the problem, said Senior Advisor- Child Protection for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Alexandra Yuster.

“Children without parental care …are more vulnerable to physical abuse, hazardous child labour, sexual violence, HIV and trafficking as well as being deprived of access to basic needs, such as food, clothing, education and accommodations,” she said in a statement at a conference for the independent group of experts that make up the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) held this past week in Geneva, Switzerland.

Children without any form of care are among those most at risk for abuse and exploitation, she said, and some 1.2 million children are trafficked every year, and 2 million children work in the commercial sex industry.

She welcomed the CRC’s recommendation to come up with a set of detailed and comprehensive guidelines that would “clarify good practices, prevent abuse and establish responsibilities and accountability” for dealing with children separated from their parents around the world. These guidelines would be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration in 2006.

Concern for care of children without parental care has escalated in the past few years due to the increase in children being physically and sexually abused in institutions, the transition of many countries to free-market economies, often leaving children at home while their parents work elsewhere, the growth of HIV/AIDS leaving many children uncared for after their parents turn ill, and the large-scale natural emergencies that have left many children orphaned or separated from their parents.

Participants at the CRC conference included more than 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concerned with coming up with a set of international standards to help children separated from their parents. The CRC is an independent committee of experts on children that monitors the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its state parties.


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