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Posts Tagged ‘child rights’

Project Friendship

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

projectfriendship
In August, people across New Zealand will be buying $3 colourful, hand-woven friendship bracelets and wearing them to support the work of Volunteer Services Abroad (VSA) volunteers in developing countries This year Project Friendship is focusing on youth. Money from each sale will support VSA volunteers who are working with young people on issues such as children’s rights, HIV and AIDS and the environment.

Find out how you can get involved at: www.vsa.org.nz/what-you-can-do/schools-and-youth/vsa-project-friendship

A fair world

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The second pillar of sustainable development

Su’Ad Muse

diversitystickyIf we were to imagine the perfect world, everybody would think of something different. But it’s safe to assume the first thing we’d all think of is people. Probably smiling, happy people, living in peace with each other and in harmony with nature. Sustainable development strives to achieve such a ‘perfect world’, one we can all agree on and which provides for us now and in the future. In this world there is no place for oppression and injustice, so it comes as no surprise that Social Equity is one of the four pillars of sustainable development

Social equity is about people. It strives to re-enforce Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services and the right to security…” The concept of social equity boils down to one basic idea – fairness. This means everyone, regardless of sex, race, age, nationality or religion, has their basics needs accounted for and has the opportunity to lead dignified, comfortable lives. But for this to happen some things have got to change.

Poverty

Poverty is the most obvious barrier to establishing social equity, because if one lives in poverty most, if not all, of their needs as a human being are not met. Poverty is not a state reserved for starved children in Africa. Believe it or not poverty is everywhere. Due to war, famine, political unrest, disease, economic fluctuations or even simply lack of social services 1.4 billion people worldwide live below the poverty line – that’s a 1/4 of humanity! The problem is more severe in developing countries yet even the developed world is not completely safe guarded – every year 3 million people are reported homeless in the USA, with similar figures in Russia. So the stats are there, the question now is how can we improve the situation?

Show me the money!

mdgsgoaloneThe turn of the last century saw the establishment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the UN, eight goals to be achieved by 2015. Goal one is to cut extreme poverty in half. One of the major ways countries can help to achieve this goal, and the seven other goals, is by allocating 0.7% of their annual national income, know as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to aid and development. 0.7% doesn’t sound like much, but we are about five years out from the deadline and only five countries (The Netherlands, Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden and Denmark) have reached the target amount. The UN stresses the MDGs can be reached, but the richest countries in the world are going to need to dig deep. Change is simply not possible without the money.

Take Action

  • Support the MDGs by joining this years ‘Stand Up and Take Action’ campaign, you can find more information at www.standagainstpoverty.org  Get involved and break a world record while you’re at it!
  • Order your books online from www.goodbooksnz.co.nz all the profit go to Oxfam and you’ll be ‘turning the page on poverty’.

Child rights

happy-childrenChildren and young people are humanities greatest asset. It’s only common sense then that the welfare of children be protected. The simplest way of doing this is by promoting and upholding children’s rights. The United Nations Convention of the Right of the Child has been adopted by every nation of earth (except two) and is concerned solely with children and their specific needs. However many children around the world are denied their rights and are exploited and abused. But before we get on our high horses and think New Zealand is above such madness, here are a couple of humbling (yet shocking) facts: 55 children were killed in New Zealand in the last five years due to abuse, 17 of which were under the age of one; our child homicide rate is increasing whereas other developed countries rates are decreasing; 25% of kiwi kids live in poverty (as defined by New Zealand).

Anti smacking or pro rights?

Aotearoa New Zealand has taken steps to address these issues with a nation wide anti-domestic violence campaign last year and the Repeal of Section 59. These steps are all heading in the right direction, and with Aotearoa New Zealand dealing with the issues on our own doorstep, we are in a better position to support the child rights movement globally. Save the Children, the UN and many other charitable organisations are working for children around the world.  The Save the Children ‘Re-write the future’ programme, for example, works to educate children in conflict– affected areas. Education not only allows children to understand their rights, but enables them to break the poverty cycle and gives them hope for the future.

Take Action

  • Get informed! Find out more about the Repeal of Section 59 and the upcoming referendum.
  • Campaign for the rights of children and become active in this field, contact Save the Child NZ www.savethechildren.org.nz and Action for children and youth Aotearoa www.acya.org.nz
  • If you’re outraged by the child homicide rate, voice your opinion- write letters to the editors, write for your school newspaper, because every persistent individual makes a difference in the long run!
Scales of justice, The Guildhall, City of Bath

Scales of Justice

(Un)Fair pay

Say two people, perhaps a black or white person, or a man and a woman, did the same job to the same standard. You would think they would get paid equally wouldn’t you? Unfortunately in many places, this is not the case. From young children in developing countries who are drastically under paid (or not even paid at all!) for their labour, to women in the west whose wages in some places are 47% less then their male counterparts, unfair pay affects people’s ability to look after themselves and their families. It can also affect whole countries. If people are exploited for cheap labour, and not paid enough, the GDP of the developing countries remains relatively low and the cycle of poverty continues. It is truly sad that people have their basic needs denied, not because they do not work hard for them, but because others pay them unfairly.

Take Action

  • As an employee know your rights, if you believe you are being paid unfairly take action start by having a chat to Youthline 0800 376633 or visit www.youthlaw.co.nz who can help you.
  • To support fair pay in the developing world buy fair trade

Sustainable development is about establishing a fair and just world for the people of today, and also of tomorrow. Establishing social equity should be one of our main priorities, because if we could insure everyone had their basic needs accounted for, humanity could collectively work together to solve other pressing issues facing us, like looking after Mother Earth. We can’t wait, however, for someone else to make the change, we have to be the change ourselves!

Learn more (references)pretty-tree

www.un.org/millenniumgoals
www.oxfam.co.nz
www.tradeaid.org.nz
www.amnesty.org.nz
www.globalissues.org
www.justfocus.org.nz
www.ace.mmu.ac.uk/esd/menu.html
http://en.allexperts.com/q/Human-Resources-2866

That’s not right!

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Cassandra Scott-Laffey

rake-boy-small1

Human rights are everyone’s rights
Everyone in the world is entitled to rights that allow us to live happy and healthy lives, such as the rights to liberty, security, an education, freedom of opinion and a life free of discrimination, torture and slavery.

These rights can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR was approved in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the intention of ensuring an acceptable quality of life for all people.

Even though, to someone like me, they seem like simple and logical ideas for how we should be allowed to live our lives, not everyone enjoys these rights, due to factors such as corrupt governments, war or poverty.

I don’t have to worry about these problems personally, but any of us could have been born into a different situation. I am grateful for the life I lead and the fact that I don’t have to fight for basic rights, and I want to help those that aren’t so lucky!

UNCROC
Millions of people throughout the world, many of them children, have their rights violated, or ignored, on a daily basis. Children are especially vulnerable, as they can’t always have their say, and don’t always have someone to speak for them. This is why 191 countries have adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC). This document covers the particular rights that protect children while they are still dependent on others. Unfortunately, for many children around the world, their needs and rights still get overlooked. This could be because their rights aren’t always the first priority when a family is just trying to survive, or it could simply be because people are not educated about child rights. But none of these reasons should be considered acceptable.

You can change the world
While it may appear that we can’t stop human rights violations on our own, we can raise awareness of it so that together we can create change for a better future. One voice is small, but many voices saying the same thing together can change the world. Even buying a bar of fair trade chocolate can make a difference!

TAKE ACTION!

Wherever things aren’t right, just one person can be enough to make a difference. Here’s what you can do:

  • Buy fair trade whenever possible and keep an eye out in August for Trade Aid’s campaign on slave labour and the chocolate industry.
  • But don’t feel guilty about eating your favourite chocolate bar, even if it isn’t made with fair trade cocoa; you just have to make a stand. Write letters, send emails and put pressure on the manufacturer to help put an end to child slavery!
  • Support Stop the Traffik by joining the global movement of people from around the world who believe that people should not be bought and sold www.stopthetraffik.org
  • Become a human rights champion in your community and join your local Amnesty International group or, if there isn’t one, start one www.amnesty.org.nz


LEARN MORE

For more information read Cassie’s other article Right the wrongs with chocolate and visit the following websites:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Trade Aid
Fair trade pros and cons
Fair trade
The International Cocoa Initiative

This article was originally published in Tearaway Magazine.