In Ecuador, UNICEF chief applauds new law to secure children’s welfare

5 August 2003

On the first day of an official visit to Ecuador, the chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today praised the country’s new law aimed at improving the lives of boys and girls, and urged authorities to make the necessary budget allocations to enable its full implementation.

On the first day of an official visit to Ecuador, the chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today praised the country’s new law aimed at improving the lives of boys and girls, and urged authorities to make the necessary budget allocations to enable its full implementation.

“By investing in services for children, Ecuador’s government is making an investment in its future – one that will pay huge dividends. UNICEF applauds this commitment, and we hope it grows,” Executive Director Carol Bellamy said.

Ms. Bellamy’s visit to Ecuador includes meetings with President Lucio Gutierrez, other senior officials and representatives of Congress to discuss a number of issues related to children and the implementation of the Ecuadorian Code for Children and Adolescents.

The Code approved by the Ecuadorian Congress entered into effect at the start of this year. It encompasses social protection such as childhood disabilities, sexual abuse and physical mistreatment at home and educational institutions. It also covers children of incarcerated parents and those removed from their home environment.

“The Ecuadorian budget must guarantee sufficient resources to allow fulfilment of social goals for children,” Ms. Bellamy said, calling for “tough budget decisions” that would enable the full implementation of the Code.

Since the onset of a regional economic crisis in 1998, conditions for children and adolescents have gradually deteriorated, according to UNICEF. Ecuador has a population of 4.8 million children less than 18 years of age, which is about 40 per cent of the total population.

 

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