UNICEF released the 2005 edition of its annual The State of the World’s Children in which it noted that about one billion children worldwide are deprived of any semblance of a normal childhood, facing instead the effects, of poverty, war, and AIDS.
Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, UNICEF estimates that 1.9 billion lived in the developing world. One billion of those children lived in poverty and were deprived of at least one of seven amenities that UNICEF regard as basic rights — shelter, water, sanitation, schooling, information, health care and food.
UNICEF director Carol Bellamy said on releasing the report,
Too many governments are making informed, deliberate choices that actually hurt childhood. When half the world’s children are growing up hungry and unhealthy, when schools have become targets and whole villages are being emptied by AIDS, we’ve failed to deliver on the promise of childhood.
The report notes that in 2003, 10.6 million children died before the age of five — the equivalent of all of the children in France, Germany, Greece and Italy.
One billion ‘denied a childhood’. The BBC, December 9, 2004.
The State of the World’s Children 2005. UNICEF, 2004.