According to recent data from the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA, 2018), in Argentina, child poverty increased to 62.5%; there are 8 million children deprived of basic human rights, 7 out of 10 children and adolescents are poor and 3 out of 10 live in a situation of extreme poverty. Moreover, child labor affects one in 10 children between 5 and 15 years old. In the case of adolescents aged 16 and 17, this figure reaches 31.9% nationwide. In both age groups, the percentage doubles in rural areas.
It is these shocking results of the study that triggered and formed a large part of the deliberations during the International Day for Eradication of Poverty (IDEP), 2018 commemorations in Argentina.
On October 27, the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in Argentina would organize an advocacy event in promotion of the rights of children as well as to mark the day of Non-Violence. More than 300 children and youth attended the event at the central square of Pilar, at the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The children and youth present would show their understanding of poverty as well as demand for their rights as enshrined in the Convention for the Rights of the Child, through posters and banners. Encouraging the children and youth, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a Nobel peace prize winner said: “It is said that childhood is the future of humanity. This is only relatively true. I believe that children, adolescents and young people are the present, and that the future will be the direct consequence of the present. What today we have the courage to sow, we will reap its fruits tomorrow. “
The advocacy efforts to end child poverty by the GNRC in Argentina culminated in an advocacy event held on 29 October, in the National Senate of Argentina. More than 80 young people from different parts of Argentina participated in the event. At least 80 children and youth participated in the advocacy meeting whose main objective was to recall the obligation of the legislators to monitor the implementation of the recommendations issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to the Argentinian Government.
“We face child abuse, rapes, exploitation and trafficking. The lack of access to education, decent housing, the lack of health coverage, poor nutrition and lack of opportunities condemn us to a life we have not decided to live. We face hunger. We are criminalized on the basis our social origin and condition, we are excluded,” said one of the children during the meeting.
The children and youth unanimously advocated for state policies and solutions that would protect them from abuse, violence and poverty. If such bold voices and actions from Argentina would be replicated by children, youth, religious leaders and organizations across the world, then together we can indeed end child poverty.