UNICEF: Millions of children fare worse than parents

Around 180 million children are more likely to live in extreme poverty, be out of school or suffer a violent death than their parents, according to UNICEF. The World Children’s Day report suggests things could get worse.

One in 12 children worldwide live in countries where they face far bleaker prospects than 20 years ago, according to a UNICEF report released Monday to coincide with World Children’s Day.

According to the analysis, a drop in quality of life was clear in 37 countries, and driven by factors such as conflict, financial crises and poor governance.

“While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this — through no fault of their own or those of their families — is a travesty,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, said.

Read more:UNICEF: Child rights must be included in Germany’s Basic Law

Call for end to child labor

The UNICEF analysis looked at children’s chances of escaping extreme poverty, accessing education and avoiding violent death. South Sudan, which has been plagued by civil war, was the only country where children fared worse than the previous generation in all three categories.

Violent deaths among children below the age of 19 climbed in seven countries, including the Central African Republic, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen — all hit by major conflicts. A drop in primary school enrolment was recorded in more than 20 countries, including Syria and Tanzania, while extreme poverty increased in 14 countries.

Read more: Priority for children’s rights: The ‘KidsRights Index’

The report’s release coincides with World Children’s Day, which marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Read more: UN: End child labor by 2025

A separate UNICEF survey of 11,000 children in 14 countries, also released Monday, found that children were deeply concerned about global issues such as terrorism, climate change, poverty and unfair treatment of refugees and migrants.

Children in South Africa and the UK reported feeling most disenfranchised, with 73 percent and 71 percent respectively saying that their voices are not heard. Children in India, meanwhile, felt the most empowered.

According to the survey, children across all 14 countries were concerned about terrorism and poor education. However, children in Turkey (81 percent) and Egypt (75 percent) were worried about terrorism affecting them personally. Children in the Netherlands were the least concerned. Respondents in Brazil, Nigeria, and Mexico were the most troubled about violence affecting children.


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