by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Nov 20, 2012
More than five million children in Iraq are deprived of "basic rights," the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday, calling for urgent action.
"One in every third child in Iraq, 5.3 million children, is still currently deprived of many of their fundamental rights," it quoted Marzio Babille, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Iraq representative, as saying.
"UNICEF calls on all stakeholders -- in government, civil society, the private sector and the international community -- to urgently invest in these children to respect their dignity and give them an equal chance to become healthy, productive young citizens of the new Iraq," Babille said.
Violations of children's rights in Iraq include inadequate access to and promotion of health services, lack of access to quality education, violence in schools and families, and psychological trauma from years of bloody unrest, the statement said.
Iraqis faced decades of war and sanctions under dictator Saddam Hussein, and bloody sectarian violence in the years following his overthrow in a 2003 US-led invasion.
And basic services, especially for vulnerable populations including widows, children and people displaced by violence, remain starkly lacking.
Six Iraqi children die in heavy rains
Winter brings periodic heavy rains to Iraq, which the country is ill-equipped to handle, both in terms of shoddily-built homes that can buckle during storms and lacking drainage for flood waters.
The downpours collapsed homes in Kut, southeast of Baghdad, killing four children from one family and leaving two children dead and a man wounded from another family, a high-ranking health official said.
Homes were also destroyed in the northern province of Kirkuk, Diwaniyah province in central Iraq, and Maysan in the south, officials said.
The rain on Sunday and Monday also flooded streets in Baghdad, forcing drivers to either find new routes or forge ahead through the waters at slow speeds.
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century
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