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UNICEF Issues Progress Report On Protecting Children

According to a U.N. report released Tuesday, millions of children worldwide are subjected to trafficking, abuse, violence and child labor, United Press International reports (10/6).

“The report gathers together for the first time data on a range of issues, including sexual abuse and trafficking, child marriage, physical punishment of children, child labour, birth registration, the harmful traditional practice of female genital cutting and attitudes toward violence against women inside marriage,” the Associated Press of Pakistan writes. Though the report did highlight some “progress is being made in reducing some violations of children’s rights,” the authors of the report noted that much is left unknown about the extent of abuses against children because such acts are committed in secrecy or illegally (10/7).

Reuters reports on the UNICEF findings that “more than half of the world’s child brides are in south Asia.” South Asia also “accounts for more than half the unregistered births, leaving children beyond the reach and protection of state services and unable to attend school or access basic healthcare,” the news service writes. “Only 6 percent of all births in Afghanistan and 10 percent in Bangladesh were registered from 2000-08, the report said, compared to 41 percent in India and 73 percent in the tiny Maldives” (Chandran, 10/6).

“A society cannot thrive if its youngest members are forced into early marriage, abused as sex workers or denied their basic rights,” UNICEF’s Executive Director Ann Veneman said in a UNICEF press release. “Understanding the extent of abuses of children’s rights is a first step to building an environment where children are protected and have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” she said (10/6).