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The need to protect the life and health of children is enshrined in various international instruments that establish the State's obligation to take all possible action immediately to protect children from a preventable death.

Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which entered into force in 1976, establishes that every human being has the inherent right to life and that this right shall be protected by law. According to the Human Rights Committee, this requires the State "to take all possible measures to reduce infant mortality and to increase life expectancy, especially in adopting measures to eliminate malnutrition and epidemics".

Under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force in 1990, States Parties must "ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child". Article 24 of that Convention sets out all the requirements relating to the health of the child and the mother, including that States parties shall take appropriate measures "to diminish infant and child mortality".

The Millennium Development Goals have also give children health a great importance for the development of countries. Goal 4 has one single target and is measured by three indicators which in a great extent address the degree of social development, and in particular the availability and accessibility to health systems and nutritional attention to children. Infant mortality is a strong indicator of social development and of the availability, use and accessibility of health systems, especially among children, as well as of their nutritional status. It shows to what extent the most fundamental human right, that is, the right to life and the concomitant right to health (Jiménez and others, 2008), is being exercised in a society. Target 4.A also addresses the proportion of children aged from 12 to 23 months immunized against measles. Measles, a significant cause of infant death, can be easily avoided by administering a relatively cheap vaccine followed by a booster at a later stage, which offers lifelong protection (United Nations, 2009).

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4.A. Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate
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UNICEF, 2012
Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed
UN IGME, 2012
Levels &Trends in Child Mortality  2012 Levels &Trends in Child Mortality 2012
UNICEF, 2012
The State of the World's Children 2012: Children in an Urban World The State of the World's Children 2012: Children in an Urban World
UNICEF/WHO, 2011
Levels &Trends in Child Mortality Levels &Trends in Child Mortality
CELADE, UNICEF, UNFPA, 2011
Mortalidad en la niñez Mortalidad en la niñez
UNICEF 2011
The State of the World's Children 2011. Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity The State of the World's Children 2011. Adolescence: An Age of Opportunity

On the bases of: United Nations (2010). Achieving the Millennium Development Goals with equality in Latin America and the Caribbean. Progress and challenges.