Promoting Adolescent Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

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T oday, more than 100 million young people between 10 and 18 years of age live in Latin America and the Caribbean - 20 per cent of the region’s total population. How effectively these young people navigate the uncharted years of adolescence will help determine how well societies weather challenges in the future. Focusing on adolescents is important for public health, for social and economic progress, and for the advancement of democratic societies. For UNICEF, a focus on adolescents is first and foremost a matter of human rights. All countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which protects adolescents’ most fundamental human rights, including the right to information and skills; access to services, such as education, health, recreation and justice; a safe and supportive environment; and opportunities to have their voices heard and participate in the decisions that affect their lives. States protect these rights through legislation, policy and practises.

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