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UNICEF Urges Help For Children In Islamic World

Children addicted to opium in Afghanistan (file photo) 22 September 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The UN children's agency is calling for urgent action to improve the lives of children in Islamic countries.

The call comes in a new report by UNICEF and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which groups nearly 60 Muslim countries.

It says Islamic countries have some of the world's highest child and maternal mortality rates. Other problems include widespread malnutrition and lack of primary education, particularly in African countries.

"Out of 2 billion children who are globally part of humanity, 600 million live in the Islamic world," said UNICEF special adviser Sadig Rasheed. "And unless we succeed in achieving the rights of these children and of meeting their needs and their aspirations for the future, we will have failed in achieving for humanity as a whole and for the children who are part of that humanity."

The report says richer Islamic countries should do more to help poorer ones channel help to needy children.

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