Portugal failing to combat child poverty - UNICEF

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 17-10-2013 14:22:00 · 0 Comments

Various institutions and non-governmental organisations have accused Portugal of failing to combat child poverty in a “multidimensional” fashion, and called for the creation of a national strategy and a ministry for child affairs, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Portugal.

The document represents an analysis of Portugal’s application of the UN Convention on the Rights of Child, based on the compilation of data and contributions from various institutions and NGOs based in or active in Portugal, including the Association for the Protection of and Support to Victims, the Catholic charity Caritas, the Child Support Institute and the European Anti-Poverty Network.
The report, which was sent to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, was in June submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which is to produce its own report and which is to be presented at the UN next January.
According to the current document, “the key problem is the fact that child poverty in itself has not been dealt with by the Portuguese authorities in a multidimensional way”.

Hence the need, in the view of Unicef Portugal, to adopt a “coordinated and integrated approach” that covers the work by relevant government departments, including those for health, education, social security, employment, finance and the economy, with a view to meeting “specific objectives” for the reduction of child poverty and social exclusion by set deadlines.
In 2011, the report notes, 28.6 percent of Portugal’s children suffered from or were at risk of poverty. It states that the austerity measures introduced since 2010 have led to “the negation or violation of economic, social and cultural rights and, as a result, constitute regressive stages” in terms of the enjoyment of these rights by Portuguese children and their families.
“The truth is that 23 years after the ratification of the Convention by Portugal, children are not yet seen by political decision makers as the bearers of rights,” the report states. It cites as an example of “an outdated attitude” the fact that in 2000 the National Commission for the Rights of the Child was wound up, with no national mechanism currently in existence to oversee the convention’s implementation.
Between 2010 and 2012, the report notes, 46,342 or 22.4 percent of claimant families lost their right to Portugal’s basic income benefit, the RSI.


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