Norman Gillespie says Australia broke its promise to the UN to take children out of detention centres.
Last month the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child gave its five yearly report card on Australia’s children and the findings were not good — especially regarding our treatment of asylum seeking children.
UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that the UN’s recommendation seven years ago to release these children into the community has been ignored with over 400 children still in detention. He hopes the recent announcement to appoint a National Children’s Commissioner will ensure Australian meets its obligations for children seeking asylum and all children who continue to fall through the gaps.
In developing countries each year, 4 million babies die within their first 28 days of life. The first few days of life are crucial to survival with babies 500 times more likely to die in their first day of life than once they reach one month old. During this time, simple measures like hygiene, supervision and care can mean the difference between life and death.
Read more about this at the WHO media centre.
UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that a new campaign which focuses on these first days aims to combat the problem by expanding the implementation of simple at-home interventions proven to be instrumental in preventing neonatal deaths.
In cases where babies are premature, UNICEF has instituted the Kangaroo Mother Care program, teaching mothers how to stabilise their baby’s breathing, heartbeat and temperature by wrapping them in a cloth ‘pouch’ close to the mother’s chest.
In a landmark study undertaken in India, community health workers were trained to recognise and treat serious neonatal illnesses with the result being drastically reduced child mortality rates.
With Treasurer Wayne Swan reaching deep to produce his promised Budget surplus, foreign aid has become one of the victims.
The Government’s long standing promise to increase aid will happen but it will be delayed for another year. Currently Australia allocates just 0.35 per cent of National Gross Income — or 35c for every $100. The change means that by 2015-16, it will increase to 50c in every dollar. It’s still a long way from the top global donor, Norway, which gives $1.10 out of every $100 of its national income to the world’s poor.
Tim O’Connor from UNICEF tells 3Q Australia rates poorly compared with the rest of the world, ranking 13th out of 23 OECD nations. The delay in increasing funding has been criticised by aid groups and according to UNICEF it will cost lives.