Child Rights Abuses Go Unchallenged due to UN Funding Crisis

    In an unprecedented move, the United Nations committee of independent child rights experts has cancelled an upcoming series of meetings due to lack of funds.

    The shortfall was caused by the failure of some countries to pay their membership dues.

    This is the latest example of the UN’s human rights monitoring role being undermined by a lack of budgeted funds, and comes on the heels of vacancy freezes at the global organization, and a forced reduction of field investigations conducted by its rights experts.

    At the now-cancelled session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the experts were expected to meet – in a safe and confidential manner – with children, civil society organizations, and UN agencies to discuss the child rights records of eight countries.

    The cancellation means less scrutiny of developments in Ecuador, where escalating violence and organized crime activity is having a dire impact on children’s rights, particularly girls who have a right to study in safety.

    It also means the situation in Ethiopia may further fly under the radar, even as children are killed, injured, and sexually assaulted; and schools attacked and used by military forces, in the conflicts in the country’s north.

    The experts will no longer have the opportunity to learn about girls from Indonesia who may have been forced to leave school or withdraw under pressure, due to their decision not to follow local mandatory hijab regulations.

    It will now be more difficult for the committee to learn about the ill treatment of children in government-run detention centers in Iraq, or the government’s failure to prohibit corporal punishment against children.

    And the voices of girls unable to exercise their right to education in Pakistan will continue to be silenced.

    If the committee cannot learn about these problems, they also cannot make recommendations for change.

    Deadbeat governments that haven’t paid their assessed contributions should pay their fair share of the UN’s budget. Otherwise, they are only helping child rights abusers evade being held to account.

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