From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Caucus calls on U.N. to make education a priority

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.UMC.ORG>
Date 14 Apr 2000 14:22:16

April 14, 2000 News media contact: Linda Bloom·(212) 870-3803·New York

UNITED NATIONS (UMNS) - New generations of children are in danger of lacking
opportunities for education, future employment and even basic needs.

The nongovernmental Caucus on the Rights of the Child emphasized the plight
of children in an April 12 statement to the committee preparing for a
special session of the United Nations on social development. Melba Smith, a
staff member of the Women's Division, United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, delivered the message.

"In the world of today's children, millions have to work in order to
survive, and their work is often hard and denigrating, work such as cutting
sugar cane, selling on the streets for long hours or prostituting themselves
in brothels," the statement said.

Many other children are soldiers, refugees and victims of abuse, AIDS and
other diseases. "Millions of children remain out of school or receive such
poor quality of education that they are not prepared for life and even less
for development," the statement added.

The U.N. special session is a five-year follow-up to its World Summit for
Social Development and plans for further initiatives. The Caucus on the
Rights of the Child is proposing that education be made a priority, and that
debt cancellation for the poorest countries and debt relief for other
developing countries can help countries reach education goals outlined by
the summit.

"Why do we prioritize education? Because without education for all, we
cannot speak of democracy and of the full exercise of human rights," the
statement said. "Without education, there will be no health. Without a
quality public education, there cannot be social mobility, and the rigid and
pyramidal social structures in which power is consolidated by an elite
minority will be preserved. Without education, there can be neither social
integration, nor productive employment, nor the overcoming of poverty."

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United Methodist News Service
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