14 June 2010 As many as two out of three children in Djibouti are exposed to life-threatening situations because of poverty, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced today, warning that urgent action must be taken to prevent the country from reversing the progress in basic care it has made in recent years.
“The intensity of the poverty situation in Djibouti tells us of the dangerous environment in which children live, one that exposes them to exploitation and abuse,” said Josefa Marrato, UNICEF Representative in Djibouti.
According to the report commissioned in 2009 by UNICEF and the Djiboutian Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Social Affairs, nearly 70 per cent of children are deprived of at least one basic right – including the right to water and sanitation, information, nutrition, education and health.
The right to shelter is especially acute, with as many as nine out of 10 children in rural areas without a home.
In a statement released today, UNICEF said it was concerned that the high poverty rates could undermine the gains so far unless children were put at the centre of policy and decision-making, and resource allocation.
The UN agency has provided basic services in Djibouti in the areas of child survival and development, basic education and child protection, as well as basic life services such as vaccines and vitamin supplements.
“Now is the time to act to deliver our various commitments for the children of Djibouti. The key for their future lies with us confronting the current glaring realities of deprivation in which they live in,” Ms. Marrato added.
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