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82164_Chapter_11.pdf

To support the worlds children and to make progress

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To support the world’s children and to make progress toward reducing growing inequality, we must appreciate the agency of children and youth, listen to their voices, and engage them in our actions to improve their quality of life and that of their families. Actions in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child have led to programs to improve the participation of children in political decisions and actions that affect their lives (UNICEF, 2009). In May 2002, 2 youth, 1 from Bolivia and 1 from Monaco, were selected by a larger group of 400 children to speak at a special session on children at the United Nations. They spoke to what they saw in a future world fit for children. They pointed out that in this future world, they saw respect for the rights of the child; an end to exploitation, abuse, and violence; an end to war; the provision of health care; the eradication of HIV/AIDS; the protection of the environment; an end to the vicious cycle of poverty; the provision of education; and the active participation of children. The children closed their statement with the following points. We pledge an equal partnership in this fight for children’s rights. And while we promise to support the actions you take on behalf of children, we also ask for your commitment and support in the actions we are taking—because the chil- dren of the world are misunderstood. We are not the sources of problems: we are the resources that are needed to solve them. We are not expenses; we are investments. Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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308 PART FOUR: Children, Social Problems, and the Future of Childhood We are not just young children; we are people and citizens of this world. Until others accept their responsibility to us, we will fight for our rights. We have the will, the knowledge, the sensitivity and the dedication. We promise that as adults we will defend children’s rights with the same passion that we have now as children. We promise to treat each other with dignity and respect. We promise to be open and sensitive to our differences. We are the children of the world, and despite our different backgrounds, we share a common reality. We are united by our struggle to make the world a better place for all. You call us the future, but we are also the present. (UNICEF, 2003, pp. 66–67) These are lofty but elegant goals, and they are especially forceful because they were formulated and stated by children themselves. Yet much work remains to be done, and the challenges are daunting. (See Alderson, 2015; Diduck, Peleg, & Reece, 2015; Freeman, 2009; Kaufman & Rizzini, 2009; Milne, 2013; for a review of the history, the contentious issues addressed in the drafting and adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, and the challenges that remain in reaching its goals.) Most of the children of the developing world are still greatly affected by poverty and the related problems it breeds. In fact, in some countries, initial progress has
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