ARS Conference Addresses Vital Social Issues

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–A conference ‘Healthy Environment–Healthy Generation,’ organized by the Armenian Relief Society Central executive–took place in Yerevan yesterday.

Discussion topics included problems of AIDS–underdevelopment in children–prostitution and domestic violence. Representatives of local government and international organizations attended.

First Lady Bella Kocharian and the Ministries of Education–Science –Health–and Social security endorsed the conference.

Speaking about problems related to children ,UNICEF Armenia Rep. Bran’slav Jekic said that at first glance–it appears that the number of girls attending schools are greater than the number of boys in Armenia–therefore attesting to the high quality level of education in the country. "Nutritional and healthy foods are vital to a child’s intellectual and physical development; in Armenia–however–as a result of existing social conditions–children are not eating properly," he said.

Concerning child abuse–Jekic said that a survey (conducted in schools and households) of 3,000 families will be released in early December.

The film ‘The Face of AIDS’ was shown during the conference; it revealed that AIDS is spreading at an alarming rate in former soviet republics–causing a great crisis. In Armenia–the fundamental cause for the spread is intravenous drug use and prostitution.

The chair of Armenia’s commission on Human rights–Hovhannes Asrian–and the vice-minister of the social security ministry attached special importance to the discussions of the conference.

ARS Central Executive Chair Maro Minassian announced that recommendations at the conference would soon be reviewed and implemented.

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