Sun, Nov 26, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Children's rights detailed at annual Taipei summit

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The 2006 International Children's Rights Summit, hosted by the Children's Rights Association of Taiwan, held its opening ceremony in Taipei yesterday.

Convened yearly since 2000, the summit promotes children's rights and child welfare services, pushes for Taiwan's membership in the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and facilitates dialogue between children worldwide, the association's mission statement says.

The association was established in 1997 as a non-government organization to promote children's rights in Taiwan, the statement added.

The theme of this year's summit was "voicing out for the children of disadvantaged families," said association chairman Lo Tsann-ching (羅燦慶).

Reading out loud both domestic and international news headlines regarding the abuse of children, Lo reminded the audience that human rights violations against children are a serious problem, underscoring the need for the association's summit.

"Society today needs more warmth and concern and children are best suited to awaken people's zeal and compassion," Lo added.

Michelle Huang (黃碧霞), director of the Child Welfare Bureau under the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), meanwhile, said that the theme of the summit was especially relevant to Taiwan as the country's yawning wealth gap and relatively high unemployment rates in some regions were putting more and more families and children at risk.

"We need to pay more attention to disadvantaged families," she added.

Jeff Evans, assistant head of secondary at the Taipei European School (TES), said that TES students had recently calculated that if the world were comprised of just 100 people in a village with the same proportions of unequal distribution of wealth and resources as that of the current global population, then more than 50 "villagers" would be mired in poverty.

"Thirty-five percent of the wealth would be concentrated in the hands of just five villagers, and those five villagers would all be US citizens," Evans added.

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