AFRICA: UNICEF Report Says HIV/AIDS threatens the rights of children
HIV/AIDS is one of the "cruellest political and social problems in the world," particularly for children, UNICEF reports in its "State of the World's Children 2002," which was released this week in preparation for the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Children. The assembly, originally scheduled for Sept 19-21, has been postponed because of the recent terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.
HIV/AIDS is "destroying families, communities and nations," causing life expectancy to "plummet" while AIDS orphans "overwhelm family networks, social services and health care institutions," the report states. One of the goals set forth at the 1990 World Summit for Children was to "improve
protection of children in especially difficult circumstances," including children affected by HIV/AIDS.
According to the report, the impact of the disease was "crushing the attempts of countries all over the world to put human development and the rights of women and children first", especially in Southern and Eastern Africa. The report said poverty in the regions had exacerbated the epidemic, illustrating that AIDS was the "most savage index of the
inequality of our world". It added that projected child mortality rates for 2000-2005 in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa were equal to or greater than 50 percent, and the southern and eastern regions of the continent had 6.4 million AIDS orphans as of last year.
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