Why has the UN accused Australia of failing children?

Jul 3, 2012


Norman Gillespie says Australia broke its promise to the UN to take children out of detention centres.

Last month the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child gave its five yearly report card on Australia’s children and the findings were not good — especially regarding our treatment of asylum seeking children.

UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that the UN’s recommendation seven years ago to release these children into the community has been ignored with over 400 children still in detention. He hopes the recent announcement to appoint a National Children’s Commissioner will ensure Australian meets its obligations for children seeking asylum and all children who continue to fall through the gaps.

Why do the first 28 days count?

May 29, 2012



In developing countries each year, 4 million babies die within their first 28 days of life. The first few days of life are crucial to survival with babies 500 times more likely to die in their first day of life than once they reach one month old. During this time, simple measures like hygiene, supervision and care can mean the difference between life and death.

Read more about this at the WHO media centre.

UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that a new campaign which focuses on these first days aims to combat the problem by expanding the implementation of simple at-home interventions proven to be instrumental in preventing neonatal deaths.

In cases where babies are premature, UNICEF has instituted the Kangaroo Mother Care program, teaching mothers how to stabilise their baby’s breathing, heartbeat and temperature by wrapping them in a cloth ‘pouch’ close to the mother’s chest.

In a landmark study undertaken in India, community health workers were trained to recognise and treat serious neonatal illnesses with the result being drastically reduced child mortality rates.