One in five French children live below poverty line, UNICEF warns

One in five French children live below poverty line, UNICEF warns |

One in five French children live below the poverty line, and France is struggling to guarantee the most basic rights for children in vulnerable situations, UNICEF France wrote in a report published Sunday.

For International Children’s Rights Day on Sunday, UNICEF France published a study on the rights of children in France.

According to the study, 21% of French children live below the poverty line, with nearly 5,700 living in shanty towns in mainland France. At the same time, 30,000 are housed in hotels – a solution deemed unsuitable for family life – while 1,600 have no accommodation solution.

It is, in particular “the most vulnerable children, whether they are in a situation of extreme poverty, disability, victims of violence […] [who] struggle to see their most basic rights guaranteed”, the NGO added. Social and territorial inequalities, in particular hamper satisfactory access “to school, health services or protection”.

According to the report’s authors, the possible clandestine nature of child migrants exacerbates the violation of children’s rights in France.

According to UNICEF France’s count, “since 2012, at least 33,786 children have been detained”, mostly in Mayotte, a French overseas territory highly exposed to irregular immigration from Comoros.

The authors thus recommend prohibiting “the administrative detention of children”, which can take place when a family in an irregular situation has to be expelled and call for the fight “against family separations”.

UNICEF France calls for the creation of a Ministry for Children and the deployment of an “ambitious National Strategy for Children” to ensure better respect for children’s rights. “Existing public policies on children are numerous but very scattered, which hinders their legibility, effectiveness and visibility,” UNICEF added.

The UN agency also pointed to the European Guarantee for Children and the European Strategy for the Rights of the Child being mechanisms that “constitute an opportunity to structure an ambitious European public policy for the prevention and fight against child poverty and social exclusion”.

(Davide Basso |


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