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The Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland
News Briefing


DEVELOPING ISSUES

No.2 September 2001

The quarterly newsletter of the Church of Ireland Bishops' Appeal

CHILD LABOUR

One World Week in the Republic this year (Nov. 19th-25th) is focusing on children and child labour. Virtually all children in the developing world make an important economic contribution to households: fetching water, tending animals, cultivating etc.

Although small amounts of chores and duties do not necessarily harm children, the levels of responsibility placed on children in poor families often lead to reduced or no education, exhaustion and poor health. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that approximately 250 million children under the age of 14 are working, half of whom work full time while the other half try to combine work with education. Income provided by children in the Least Developed Countries accounts for as much as 20-25 percent of family income and prevents their families from falling deeper into poverty.

Though the principal reason for children’s labour is poverty, demand for children's work plays a crucial role as children are cheaper to employ, they are less aware of their rights, less likely to complain about monotonous work and bad conditions and are less likely to be absent. The majority of children (70%) work in agriculture, forestry and fishing with others in manufacturing, mining, construction and domestic service. Girls are especially at risk in the latter which can be coercive and abusive. An increasing and alarming problem is the trafficking of children across national borders for prostitution and begging as well as for work on plantations and domestic service.

CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted in 1989, outlines children’s rights to life, health, education, recreation and many other freedoms we normally take for granted, ‘a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development’ (Art. 27). The CRC underlies much of the recent child protection legislation, enshrining the principle that ‘the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration’ (Art. 21).

Art. 32 of the CRC states that ‘the child should be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development’. States should also enact legislation to provide for a minimum age for admission to employment and regulation of hours and conditions. As Art. 28 states that primary education should be compulsory, universal and free and, as one of the World Bank’s development goals is ‘universal primary education in all countries by 2015’, one can see the aspirational nature of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

IPEC

The International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), promoted by the ILO and UN aims to eliminate the worst forms of child labour. The Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour has been ratifed by 92 countries to date. ‘The worst forms of child labour’ comprise:

  • slavery, debt bondage and serfdom or compulsory labour, including forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict;
  • prostitution or pornography;
  • the production and trafficking of drugs;
  • work which is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children.

IPEC’s priority target groups are children who are particularly vulnerable, i.e. children below 12 years of age and working girls.

http://www.crin.org; http://www.ilo.org; http://www.unicef.org for information on One World Week: http://www.defy.ie

Grim Reaper on Children:

  • Infants born to mothers with no formal education are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than are babies born to mothers with post primary school education.
  • In some African countries, more than 10 percent of children under 15 are now orphans. · One child in six dies before their fifth birthday in the Least Developed Countries compared with 1 in 167 in industrialised countries.
  • Almost 4 million children under the age of five die each year from preventable causes such as diarrhoeal dehydration, acute respiratory infections, malaria, and vaccine preventable diseases. · Half of Africa’s one-year-olds have not been immunised against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and measles.
  • By the end of 1999, 13 million children were AIDS orphans. (principally from UNICEF’s report ‘The State of the World’s Children 2001 ‘)

The Good News

  • In the past 10 years, 63 countries have reduced the mortality among children under five by one third. A further 100 countries reduced under-five mortality by one-fifth.
  • Over the past 10 years, deaths of young children from diarrhoea-based- diseases were reduced by half, saving 1.5 million lives each year.
  • The increase in school enrolment is outpacing population growth, so that more children are in school now than ever before.

Reprinted with permission from World Vision's free e-mail newsletter WorldView http://www.worldvision.org.uk/church

RESOURCES

Access UNICEF youth resources, including a short quiz on child labour, at http://www.unicef.org/young/. Christian Aid’s youth site, http://www.globalgang.org.uk, has games, news and activities for children and young people, and resources for teachers

GLOBAL MOVEMENT FOR CHILDREN

Promoted by UNICEF,

GMFC aims to achieve ten goals:

  1. Leave No Child Out
  2. Put Children First
  3. Care for Every Child
  4. Fight HIV/AIDS
  5. Stop Harming and Exploiting Children
  6. Listen to Children
  7. Educate Every Child
  8. Protect Children From War
  9. Protect the Earth for Children
  10. Fight Poverty: Invest in Children

Help to achieve these goals by Saying Yes For Children. You can vote for your three top priorities on-line at http://www.unicef.org.say_yes/. To date, nearly 6 million people worldwide have done so.

AIDS: UPDATE

The UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS in June delivered little. The UN Secretary- General, Kofi Annan, had called for a fund of $10 billion p.a. to fight HIV/AIDS. In reality, barely $1billion is likely to be raised. The British Government has promised £133m over five years but this is money from existing sources, not new money.

The fund has been criticised by aid agencies as it will require new administration, does not address the poverty which allows HIV/AIDS to flourish, and AIDS could be better tackled through substantial increases in existing aid. In August, all 34 Anglican Provinces in Africa were represented in South Africa at the first-ever All-African Anglican Conference on HIV/AIDS . Final statement: http://www.anglicancommunion.org under Existing ACNS Articles

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

A five-week course on how the world trading system works begins on Tuesday October 16th, 7.30, in Trinity College, Dublin. Contact Conall Ó Caoimh at Comhlámh, Tel. 01-4783490

Belfast One World Centre’s inaugural lecture will be held at the Grosvenor Centre, Belfast on 24th October at 6.00 p.m. Tel. 028 90241879. Lecturer is Mr. Barry Coates, WDM.

A note on Afghanistan:

Since the Soviet invasion to support a communist regime in 1979, Afghanistan has seen more than 20 years of conflict. It has little in the way of functioning schools, hospitals, or government. Three years of drought have left its people hungry with 25% (more than 5 million) dependent on aid from the World Food Programme. There are more than 2 million refugees in Pakistan, a million in Iran. The current tension has made it impossible for aid convoys to travel into the country as they fear being mistaken for military convoys in any American response.

NEWS:

Drought in Honduras

The Honduran Government has declared a state of emergency in 104 towns which have lost up to 80 per cent of their harvest. The crop failure is a result of a two month drought that is devastating Central America. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimate that up to one million people could be affected by the drought. The current dry spell is the worst drought to hit Central America since El Nino in 1997. El Salvador and Nicaragua are also badly affected by the drought.

Reprinted with permission from 'World Vision's free e-mail newsletter WorldView - http://www.worldvision.org.uk/church

Floods in Orissa

In July, six million people in the east Indian state of Orissa were stricken by the worst floods in the region for more than 50 years. Orissa was devastated by a super cyclone in 1999, claiming 100,000 lives. Officials say the floods, triggered by 15 days of unusually heavy monsoon rains in Orissa and neighbouring upstream states, have washed away 4,000 houses and damaged 18,000 homes in the same low-lying area that was ravaged by the cyclone two years ago. http://www.christian-aid.org.uk

BISHOPS’ APPEAL: LATEST GRANTS

At its September meeting, the BA Committee approved the following grants:

  • Nicaragua: $5,000 Miraflor Agricultural Co-operative Union, training young people in sustainable horticulture.
  • $6,200 El Limon Women and Community Institute, training and equipping women in vegetable growing and animal husbandry.
  • Uganda: stg£4,350 production of literature for literacy programme (via SPCK)
  • Ethiopia: IR£4,500 provision of veterinary services to improve animal health, breeding and nutrition in Dodota region (via Self-Help Development International)
  • Sierra Leone: IR£124,177 rehabilitation and extension of 16 primary schools in Bo and Western regions after civil war. BA is funding 20% of a total budget of £517,418, the rest being provided by UK Dept. for International Development. (via Christian Aid. BA is funding this project from a substantial bequest received in 2000.)
  • India: IR£10,955 Integrated development project among dalit and other low- caste communities, especially women, in Tamil Nadu. Activities include credit and savings schemes, community management of water and agriculture and training in gender issues. BA is funding 25% of a total budget of £43,819, the rest provided by Ireland Aid (via Christian Aid).
  • Bangladesh: IR£19,587 Integrated development project with disadvantaged women, marginal farmers, sharecroppers and fishing communities in Noakhali. Activities include training in gender and health issues, food production, micro- credit and savings schemes. BA is funding 25% of a total budget of £78,347, the rest provided by Ireland Aid (via Christian Aid).
  • Central America: stg£16,472 to fund training for disability organisations who assist reintegration of disabled women into mainstream society. BA is funding 50% of a total budget of £32,944 (via Motivation).

Praying for the Poor:

Intercessions on development themes from Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin; used with permission

Lord, we pray for your world and those with whom we share it.

We remember especially children whose innocence has been eroded by the horrors of war or inherited hatreds. Bless and comfort them, O Lord, that their childhood may be restored to them and they may grow up in a loving and caring environment.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray that those of us who live in rich countries may be mindful of the needs of those less fortunate who, burdened by debt, lack the resources to provide for their basic needs. Move us, O Lord, to share that which you have entrusted to us with others so that all may have according to their need.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We remember the victims of natural disasters, especially in Central America ...; and particularly women who too often bear a disproportionate share of the deprivation, hunger and disease that is the invariable outcome of such calamities. Be a light in their darkness, O Lord, that they may find the courage to rebuild their lives, confident in your love.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

We pray for all victims of terrorism, remembering especially those who suffered death, injury or trauma in the tragedy of September 11. We pray too for the peoples of the Middle East and Central Asia. Give to the nations of the world, and to their leaders, the wisdom and discernment to know what is best for our common humanity.

Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.

DEBT: UPDATE

During the G8 summit in Genoa in July, the death of an Italian protester was widely reported. The deaths of 38,000 people in developing countries as a result of debt, also during the summit, seem to have been ignored. Debt campaigners, including BA’s Rep. for Glendalough, Mr. Berkeley Vincent, dissociated themselves from the violence of the anti-capitalism demonstrators and held a peaceful meeting in a church. (See Mr. Vincent’s report in C. of I. Gazette 24th Aug.)

Because of the persistent campaigning on debt and other issues of poverty, G8 leaders felt obliged to show that it was not just a ‘rich man’s club’. They met African leaders and discussed their plan for recovery which includes the debt issue.

The final G8 communiqué spoke of trying to ‘make globalisation work for all our citizens’; and that ‘The most effective poverty reduction strategy is to maintain a strong, dynamic, open and growing global economy’. While debt relief is ‘a valuable contribution to the fight against poverty’, it is ‘only one of the steps needed to stimulate faster growth in very poor countries’. Others are: increased market access to promote trade; commercial investment; investment in health care, education and food security; an end to conflict; and ‘open, democratic and accountable systems of governance, based on respect for human rights and the rule of law’. Some of these themes link with Christian Aid’s Trade For Life campaign and making the World Trade Organisation work for the poor. Drop The Debt, the umbrella campaigning group was wound up after the Genoa summit although the Debt campaign has not achieved all its aims.

For more information: http://www.debtchannel.org; http://www.jubileeplus.org; Debt and Development Coalition, Dublin 857 1828; DDC’s website, http://www.debt-ireland.org, is under construction.

STOP PRESS! CHRISTIAN AID LAUNCH APPEAL FOR AFGHAN REFUGEES.

Full details and means of making credit card donations on http://www.fish.co.uk/world/emergncy/appeal.html


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