This is the News in Brief from the United Nations
No child in Europe should be Stateless, says UN agencies
No child in Europe should be born or remain in limbo, as officially stateless, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and the UN Children’s Agency, UNICEF, said on Thursday.
With more than 500,000 people in Europe estimated to be unrecognized as a citizen of any country, the UN agencies underscored that “children without a nationality have limited access to basic rights and services” like education or healthcare, “and can face life-long discrimination”.
Pascale Moreau, UNHCR’s Europe Bureau Director, said that life was stacked against a stateless child “right from the start”, and that legal obstacles often mean their dreams are “dashed before they are adults, and their potential squandered”.
Afshan Khan, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia underscored that “every child has the right to a name and a nationality,” and Governments have a responsibility to prevent children from being born stateless.
Jointly, the UN agencies called on States and regional organisations to take urgent action to ensure that all children in Europe have citizenship.
Pope urges IFAD to continue on its ‘humble’ path
Also on Thursday, Pope Francis addressed the opening session of the Governing Council of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, in Rome.
He commended the agency’s work to eradicate poverty and hunger in rural areas of the world, saying it was “paradoxical” that so many of the world’s rural farmers and their families were suffering from malnutrition and hunger.
He also described the on-going exodus from the countryside to the city as “a global trend that we cannot ignore”.
The Pope said that in recent years, “IFAD has achieved better results through greater decentralization, promoting south-south cooperation, diversifying funding sources and modes of action”, and urged it to continue on the same “humble” path, that should “always result in the improvement of the living conditions of the most needy”.
Saying NO to child marriage
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day celebrates love and marriage around the world - but this year the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA, pointed out that every single day, tens of thousands of girls are married off against their will.
Child marriage violates their rights, threatens their health and wrecks countless futures for girls. Yet globally, one in every five, is wedded before they reach 18, often forcing them to drop out of school and become pregnant while still adolescents.
But when girls are empowered to fight back – to refuse or escape child marriage – UNFPA spelled out that their possibilities are unlimited.
Using the hashtag #IDONT to child marriage, UNFPA partnered with artists to raise awareness of this harmful tradition by launching a digital campaign profiling young women who have turned down marriage and made lives for themselves.
“For those who do escape child marriage”, UNFPA says: “a lifetime of opportunity awaits”.
Liz Scaffidi, UN News.