PANAMA CITY.- The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) called “unacceptable” that 70 million children - 4 out of 10 - live in poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean, and of them 28.3 million are under extreme poverty.
On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, celebrated on Sunday, Unicef recalled that these children are mainly in indigenous and Afro-descendant populations, rural areas and periurban environments, and considered that "now more than ever" their work is vital to break this cycle of poverty.
"These figures are not only ethically unacceptable, but also account for a blatant violation of the human rights of thousands upon thousands of children, rights that are embodied in the Convention on the Rights of Children, which have been ratified by all States of the region," UNICEF's director for Latin America and the Caribbean, María Cristina Perceval said.
Poverty in childhood leaves deep traces that severely compromise the future of people throughout the life cycle and in the development of their community, warned the agency.
Unicef acknowledged that in the last two decades Latin America and the Caribbean have made significant progress in terms of economic growth and social inclusion, and this has impacted directly and beneficially on the well-being of children.
At that time the region has managed to reduce the mortality of children under 5 years of age by 67%, and today 8 out of 10 children have access to preschool education, he said.
In addition, enrollment in primary school has increased substantially in all countries.
"However," Perceval said in a public statement, "while there are differences within and between countries, child poverty in the region is a scandal of discrimination, humiliation and exclusion for much more than half of the children who inhabit it ".
In commemoration of its 70th anniversary, Unicef called on all governments, the private sector and communities "to join in a transformative movement for children in Latin America and the Caribbean, capable of eradicating child poverty and prevent the progress made in the last decades from becoming frustrations and injustices in the future to come."
The agency called for an investment in children through policies "truly universal, comprehensive, consistent and effective and inclusive programs of social protection."
In this sense, she called on the governments of the region to increase the budget for children and teenagers, and society to take care of this.
"We can and must transform this unsustainable model of development and its unprecedented processes of concentration of wealth, to progress responsibly and jointly towards sustainable development, (...) in which the best interests of children is a compass and horizon of societies More fair, free and equal," Unicef, which has its regional headquarters in Panama, added.
For its anniversary, the agency launched a video on its Youtube account with a call to action to take concrete steps towards achieving Objective 1 of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030: eradicating poverty. EFE