Monday, 6 March 2017

Sri Lanka joins South Asian partners to safeguard children’s rights

The UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) on Monday said Sri Lankan legislators have joined fellow lawmakers from across South Asia to prioritise and safeguard children’s rights in the region.
UNICEF said that in spite of economic growth and consequent 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 8 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.
Parliamentarian Sudarshani Fernandopulle told newsmen at the first meeting of The South Asia Parliamentarian Platform for Children, noting that violence against children, including physical abuse in the home remains a concern.
“As the rate of extreme poverty is declining (by 16 per cent between 2002 and 2012) child poverty rates remain higher with pockets of extremely high vulnerability across the nation.
“Even though our indicators are really good, we still have issues like child marriage, school dropouts and migration affecting children,’’ Fernandopulle said.
According to her, 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 added.
UNICEF said the children’s regional meeting was a milestone in bringing together lawmakers from all eight countries in South Asia to prioritise, promote, and safeguard children’s rights.
It added that it was also an opportunity to plug in the critical role that parliamentarians could play in tackling key development challenges affecting children in the region within the larger framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. (Xinhua/NAN)


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