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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Modern Slavery News Round-Up

UNICEF fights child marriage in India
Tea estate communities in Assam, in northeastern India, are working with the UN Children’s Fund to deter the early marriage and sexual abuse of children. Girls sometimes begin picking tea leaves as early as 10 years old in the isolated communities, where UNICEF has joined with girls’ groups and the regional Indian Tea Association to reverse gender discrimination.

Venezuela strikes chord with poor children
A 35-year-old social program in Venezuela aimed at alleviating the effects of poverty among children through classical music is inspiring similar programs in other countries, in part through the high profile of one of its products, Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. El Sistema reaches 310,000 children through 500 orchestras and other ensembles, and aims to instill a sense of community, commitment and self-worth amid lives that are otherwise marked by desperation.

NIGERIA: Calls for more action on child lead poisoning
The Nigerian government has stood back and watched while hundreds of children in the northwestern state of Zamfara have died of lead poisoning, and hundreds more been affected by it over the past two years, say rights groups and the local authorities. At least 400 children who had worked in artisanal gold mines were reported to have in 2010, and still the government has taken little action to curb the mining or make communities more aware of its dangers.

UN Pushes for Birth Registration
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced its partnership with the global children’s rights organization Plan International for a worldwide push to ensure that children, especially those at risk of statelessness, are registered at birth. There are some 12 million stateless people across the world, half of which are children, according to the UN agency. UNICEF estimates that 51 million babies each year, more than two fifths of those born worldwide, are not registered at birth. Furthermore, many parents are not registered themselves, often a requirement for child registration. Halting this vicious cycle is key to ending exploitation and the denial of human rights worldwide.

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