Protect the children

By: Johnny Baltzersen, chair, CICED

CICED joins The Child Protection Network in Denmark

Trafficking is a sensitive topic in Helambu, Nepal. It’s not the only encroachment on children’s right to grow up with their parents. In Helambu. Everywhere in Nepal. 

Since the 2015 earthquake, orphanages have sprung up like mushrooms on a wet forest floor. But the majority of children in these orphanages are not orphans. There’s money in ‘orphans’. And destitute – and desperate – parents can be lured into ‘giving up’ their children in exchange for the promise of a better future through a stay in an orphanage.

Poverty is one of the sources of separation of parents and children. Others include war, natural disasters, deadly epidemics, migration and climate change. Different types of disabilities and related taboos can also be a reason for children to be separated from their parents.

Reliable figures on orphans and children separated from their parents are hard to come by. And there are discussions about the definitions. Is a child an orphan if one of the parents is alive? How long and under what conditions do children and parents have to be separated before a claim of legal separation can be made?

UNICEF estimates that there are more than 140 million orphans globally. Other sources estimate around 150 million. For obvious reasons, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to give an exact figure.

But data and definitions aside, with resolution A/Res/74/133, the UN has

The resolution is the basis for a new Danish network that CICED has just joined: The Child Protection Network in Denmark.

The purpose of the network is to strengthen capacity, knowledge sharing and collaboration among Danish civil society organizations working with vulnerable children and young people who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care. The network is established with support from Global Focus.

Central to the network’s work is spreading awareness of the UN resolution.

In short and simple terms, the UN resolution has two key points: children have the right to grow up with their parents, and when this – for one reason or another – is not possible, the alternative must be as caring to the individual child as possible.

Universal principles are relatively easy to formulate. It is much more difficult to translate principles into practices that are not universal, but need to be implemented in specific, local and very different contexts.

Therefore, the network is also about learning together how we can translate the UN resolution into meaningful local conversations and initiatives for the benefit of children who have or are at risk of being separated from their parents.

READ MORE:

The Child Protection Network in Denmark
UN Resolution A/Res/74/133

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