Chair: Minhee Jeon
Secretary: Emily Chamnong
UNICEF was created with a distinct purpose in mind: to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path. We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.
1. Equitable Access to Education for Children with Disabilities Globally, it is estimated that there are at least 200 million children living with disabilities, whether it be mental, physical or developmental, etc. A variety of factors, including marginalization and poverty, prevent these children from receiving an education and access to medical services. Children with disabilities are constantly subject to discrimination and marginalization even by their families. In many countries, lack of awareness about the capabilities of disabled children leads them to be institutionalized, abandoned, neglected, or killed. Disabled children are often victims of physical, sexual, or emotional violence. Compared to able-bodied children, children with disabilities are 3 to 4 times more likely to be victims of violence, especially sexual abuse. This often occurs in institutions, where children can also be medically mistreated; one example of such mistreatment is electroconvulsive treatment or drug therapy. Some families choose not to report that their child has a disability in fear of ostracism from their community, which contributes to the lack of concrete data on how many disabled children there are. Girls are considered to be “doubly disabled” because they are discriminated against based on their disability as well as their gender. They are less likely to receive care than boys, yet more likely to be excluded from family activities. Disabled girls are also more likely to be victims of sexual abuse.
The UN and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) strive for all children to have equitable access to education as a basic human right. Education is critical for children to develop their human capital and enhance their future economic and social opportunities.
2. Access to Safe Drinking Water for Rural Children
In 2012, 11% of the world’s population was living without access to sanitary water. UNICEF works to protect and maintain access to freshwater, rebuild infrastructure supplying water to communities after natural disasters or other disruptions, and improve the overall water quality. Children, especially those in the poorest countries, are disproportionately affected in water shortages and by unclean water. Water scarcity impacts the quality of life for affected children, who often spend much of their time searching for water instead of attending school and furthering their education. As almost every year since 1992 has been included on the list of the hottest years on record, increasing water stress is positively correlated with the upward trend in temperature and a decline in access to drinkable water. Further, conflict disrupts people’s access to clean, safe drinking water and some conflicts are prolonged or even initiated due to water scarcity. This topic aims to address the problems caused by the impacts of global warming on drinking water through collective action for protecting the children.
3. Ending Child Marriage
Child marriage is a harmful practice that constitutes a gross violation of children’s rights. Some lasting consequences for affected children include negative implications for education, health, socioeconomic status, and etc. Although child marriage also applies to boys, the vast majority of married children are girls, which has led international movements against child marriage to center around girls and their families. Child marriage hinders global sustainable development by creating a “vicious cycle of poverty, poor health, curtailed education, violence, disregard for rule of law and other discrimination.” Marriage denies girls the benefit of good health and education, thereby preventing them from reaching their full potential and lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.This practice is prevalent in both developed and developing countries, which evinces the need for international communities to collectively work to eliminate child marriage so that these children can have the prosperous future they deserve.