UNICEF: 3 million children in France live below the poverty line

Published 09.06.2015 14:55
Updated 09.06.2015 16:35

France has failed to implement an adequate monitoring system for children's rights as demonstrated by the more than 3 million French children suffering from poverty, according to a report released by UNICEF France on Tuesday. In a report titled "Each child counts. Everywhere, every time," the organization has called on French authorities to take urgent steps to address child poverty, discrimination and social exclusion by developing "a system more than a project", in order to protect them from all forms of violence.

"More than 3 million children live below the poverty line, more than 30,000 are homeless, 9,000 live in makeshift slums [and] 140,000 students drop out of school each year … Our report is an alarm that should push the French authorities to take urgent and more efficient action for every child," said Michèle Barzach, head of UNICEF France.

UNICEF France issued 36 recommendations in the report addressed to French authorities in order to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the most critical areas needed, including child protection and educational inequality. The UNICEF France report said children and young people are disproportionately affected by the economic crisis, as nearly 18 percent of French children are living in "precarious" conditions. The report documents the unacceptable situation of unaccompanied migrant children living in makeshift slums, and stresses that the juvenile criminal justice system is "in contradiction with the principles of the CRC" and underscores the shortcomings of governance in France concerning child protection.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is the U.N. body responsible for ensuring children can enjoy their human rights and live with dignity, respect and equality, and also monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in each signatory country. The CRC is an international U.N. treaty that sets out basic human rights in 54 articles, to which all children aged 0-18 throughout the world are entitled. The treaty was drafted in 1989 and ratified by every country except the United States.

The Child Rights International Network (CRIN) defines children rights as "human rights." "Children must enjoy the same human rights as everybody else – from the right to freedom of expression to the right to privacy. This means all human rights laws apply equally to children and adults." Moreover, these rights are bound by international law in the convention on children's rights.

The growing human rights abuses in France were widely condemned by a Council of Europe report released in February. The apparent rise in racism and discrimination against minorities, including Jews, Muslims, Roma and disabled individuals, in French society endangers human rights, said the EU report. The apparent rise in racism and discrimination in all segments of French society has led the French government to pour 100 million euros into a major anti-racism action plan in order to increase the penalties for crimes deemed to have been fueled by racism.

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