Poverty, education, mental health, violence: a Unicef France report published this Sunday condemns a “disturbing” situation in France.
More than one in five children live below the poverty line and more than 42,000 are homeless: France still needs to make progress to guarantee children’s rights, especially those of the most vulnerable, UNICEF says in a report unpublished published this Sunday.
Social and territorial inequalities prevent “too many children to access school, health or protective services“, complains UNICEF France in a press statement that accompanies the report, on the occasion of the international day of the rights of the child.
Schooling and children’s mental health
In an interview given to Sunday paperthe president of Unicef France, Adeline Hazan, stated that the childrenwith disability“and”5700 [mineurs] living in slums» encounter difficulties in accessing education. “The most vulnerable children, whether in a situation of extreme poverty, disability, victims of violence (…) struggle to guarantee their most basic rights.added the organization, which is preparing a report for experts of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Children’s mental health is also at the center of the French committee’s report. While a third of miners say “suffer from psychological disorders“, Adeline Hazan denounces a very long waiting time to get an appointment”in a medico-psychological center“:”you have to wait six months to a year” on average.
Increase in domestic violence
The health crisis has also worsened the living conditions of the miners. During the first lockdown, violence against children increased. “The number of calls to 119 to report a minor in danger had exploded“, recalls the president of the French branch. A clear statement supported by Unicef which states that “every five days a child is killed by a parent“.
Also, France uses practices contrary to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, such as the administrative detention of children when families in an irregular situation will be deported, UNICEF denounces. Since 2012, at least 33,786 children have been placed in detention, the vast majority of them in Mayotte and 1,460 in mainland France.
Establishing a children’s ministry?
“The situation is worrying, even if progress has been made, admitted Adeline Hazan to AFP. Minors are not protected enough in France, they cannot live enough of their lives as children“.
The association recognizes improvements since 2016, when France was last evaluated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child. For example, it emphasizes the development of public policies aimed at children. In 2019, the government launched a plan to combat violence against children. It has also put in place measures to strengthen support for a child’s first 1,000 days.
However, UNICEF regrets that these policies are “very scattered“, that harms”their readability” and to “their effectiveness“. Thus, the organization proposes several solutions, including the creation of a Ministry for Children and the investment of 1.5 billion euros over five years.