With the current global economic downturn, children will be “the hardest hit,” said renowned Canadian humanitarian Stephen Lewis, who is the United Nations’ special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Addressing a crowd of 400 in Vancouver on October 20, Lewis pointed out that one million children in Canada are living below the poverty line.

Lewis said Aboriginal children will suffer the most from the anticipated financial cutbacks by government at all levels.

“HIV and AIDS in Aboriginal communities are at epidemic levels, particularly in northern Canada – it haunts reserves and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside,” he said.

Lewis made the address at the inaugural B.C. Champions for Children and Youth Summit.