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Mon, Nov 20, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan falls short in protection of children's rights

CHILD WELFARE A non-profit group says their survey of children's basic human, social, education and health rights shows minimum standards are not being met

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwan has made slight progress in improving the protection of children's rights over the past year, but the nation's overall children's rights index still failed to meet the minimum standards, activists said yesterday.

According to the results of an annual survey conducted by the non-profit Children's Welfare Alliance, Taiwan's children's rights index stood at 2.73 points this year, the highest since the annual survey began four years ago.

Nevertheless, none of Taiwan's indexes concerning children's basic human rights, social rights, educational rights and health rights managed to get a "passing" grade.

The alliance began conducting the annual survey of local children's rights conditions in 1997, at the request of the Chinese Association for Human Rights.

"This is the fourth consecutive year that Taiwan has failed the annual children's rights test," said association Chairman Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉), also a KMT legislator.

Analyzing the survey results, Lin said that vulgar, distasteful television programs have seriously hindered the improvement of Taiwan's protection of children's "basic human rights," one of the four major indicators looked at in measuring the children's rights index.

According to the alliance's survey, Taiwan scored very low in mass media-related children's rights protection, with few measures having been taken to protect children from the bad influence of mass media broadcasts.

Local news media generally pay little attention to the possible adverse influence of their content on local children, and also often fail to fully respect children's privacy in handling relevant news events.

Lin said the alliance will rally 3,520 Rotary Club families and other volunteers around the nation to help monitor television programs broadcast between 4:30pm and 9:30pm everyday, with the intention of protecting children from the bad influence of vulgar TV programs.

For its 2000 children's right report, the alliance sent out 182 copies of a questionnaire between August and October, and received 102 valid replies.

The questionnaires were sent to scholars familiar with children's rights issues, senior executives of children's welfare organizations, heads of social education agencies, social workers, legislators, legal experts, and media and medical professionals.

The survey covered four major categories:

-- Basic human rights, or the rights to live and enjoy basic living standards and physical safety.

-- Social rights, including the rights to social participation, social equality, legal justice, welfare and protection.

-- Education rights, including access to educational opportunities and the assurance of education quality and distribution of educational resources.

-- Health rights, including opportunities to receive medical services, distribution of medical resources and health services, as well as disease control and management.

The survey results show that the children's health rights index received the highest score, at 2.91 points; followed by the education rights index, at 2.79 points; the basic human rights index, at 2.63 points; and the social rights index, at 2.6 points.

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