Child poverty a social concern

CONCERN groups have reiterated calls for a commission on children (兒童事務委員會) to address issues related to child poverty. They voiced their demand at a public hearing session of the Legislative Council children’s rights subcommittee as protesters made the same call outside. One group said the child poverty rate had reached 16 percent – higher than the overall rate of poverty.

Many grassroots children lack equal learning opportunities and rights for diversified development, such as computers for school assignments or resources for extracurricular activities, the group said. Others said there have been 10,000 cases of child abuse over the past 10 years, and that children are increasingly subjected to pressure over studying.

Subcommittee chairman Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (張超雄) criticised the government for not taking any action to set up the commission, even though the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (聯合國兒童權利委員會) urged it to and Legco had passed related non-binding motions twice.

Hong Kong Family Law Association (香港家庭法律協會) said without the commission, “the welfare of children will always face obstacles of conflicting bureaus and departmental priority”.

But a youth representative feared a commission would become “another black hole of public funding,” departments. Hong Kong has various commissions, including the Commission on Youth (青年事務委員會) and Commission on Poverty (扶貧委員會).

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 27 April 2017)

Why Hong Kong needs a children’s commission

Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights