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On June 1, 2021, Timor-Leste marked The International Day for Protection of Children with a discussion in the National Parliament on child protection rights. The President of Commission A of the National Parliament stated these mechanisms should be in place by 2022. These legal protections will come almost twenty years after Timor-Leste signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child. With almost half of Timor-Leste’s population under the age of 18, ongoing efforts to protect the rights of children represent a critical part of ensuring Timor-Leste’s democracy.
Attempts to protect children’s rights are set against a background of inter-generational poverty and inequality. In 2020, the Human Capital Index for Timor-Leste was 0.45, ten points below that of the regional average of East Asia and the Pacific. In the two rounds of the Timor-Leste Living Standards survey, the national poverty line, which represents the average cost of meeting basic needs, grew by 84.5 percent, from $25.14 per person per month in 2007 to $46.37 per person per month in 2014, and has increased since then. The impacts on children living in poverty are not just limited to their access to material basics, but the opportunities for growth and education, and the capacity to build supportive relationships. This webinar with three Timorese experts will present a snapshot of the policy landscape on poverty and inequality and how it impacts on Timor-Leste’s children and young people, and efforts by the government towards fulfilling their rights.