Cardinal speaks up for world's children at WHO

 More than two million children have been killed in armed conflicts, in the last decade, Archbishop Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council of Health Care Ministry told the World Health Organization on Wednesday. He said: "Six million have become invalids, and thousands have been mutilated by land mines; in 2002, 300,000 children were recruited as soldiers; more than 4,300,000 children died from AIDS, every day in Africa alone 7,000 children become infected by AIDS and, as a result of the disease, 14 million children became orphans. Poverty is still the principal cause of disease in children. ... Even in the richest countries, one out of every six children lives below poverty level. The gap between rich and poor is widening; 30% of children under age five go hungry or are mal-nourished, and 50% of the entire Sub-Saharan African population lack safe drinking water." The Cardinal said: "250 million children under age 15 work, and of these children 50 to 60 million do so in dangerous conditions. According to the World Organization of Labour, 120 million children between age 5 and 14 work full time, many of them work six days a week and some seven. They are forced to do so, and often are enclosed in places without ventilation, that are poorly lit and with armed guards who prevent them from escaping." "Today, many children and adolescents are abandoned and left alone," he continued. In addition, "many families have neglected the duty to educate their children." Archbishop Lozano appealed:"priority must be given to maternal and paediatric health, ... especially concerning water, hygiene and health care, ... and to attention to children especially in high risk situations." "We insist on two urgent points in order to create an appropriate environment for the child: we must fight against poverty with proper means within the present globalized economy. ... Existing inequality among developed countries and those that are developing is absolutely unacceptable. No less important is the conduct and psychological development of children" who "must know who they are, what they want, that they can built and destroy it; and in this complexity, they need clear and firm direction." The Cardinal concluded by highlighting that "the main atmosphere for self-comprehension of the child is affection and love and stable direction starting with their parents and their whole family. ... The school within the educational community that truly forms the child must be an environment that sustains the family and extends it." source: VIS

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