Namibia lags behind on child rights

29 May 2020 | Local News

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



A new global index shows that Namibia is still lagging behind when it comes to children's rights.

Namibia placed 106th out of 182 countries in the 2020 KidsRights Index released by the KidsRights Foundation, an international children's aid and advocacy NGO, dropping three places from its ranking last year.

The country received 0.693 points overall, chalking up the highest score in the child rights environment category and the lowest for child health.

The index measures how children's rights are respected worldwide, and the extent to which countries are committed to improving them.



Judging indicators

For the index, countries are judged on five indicators: Right to life, right to education, right to health, right to protection and enabling environment for child rights.

It uses data from the United Nations (UN) and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Indicators include maternal and child mortality rates, percentage of child labour, rates of immunisation and expected years of schooling for boys and girls, among many others.

For right to health, Namibia was ranked 139th, right to life 135th, right to education 87th, right to protection 105th and child right environment 18th. Iceland topped the index, followed by Switzerland, Finland and Sweden.

The five lowest-scoring countries are the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Chad.



Corona turns back clock

However, the authors of the new report said the coronavirus crisis has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on the well-being of children and puts their rights under serious pressure across the globe.

While the data does not directly include the impact of the pandemic, the wider report, presented in the context of the coronavirus, warned of the “disastrous” impact of the crisis on children. The report cautioned that globally countries do not allocate enough money to children's rights, and that with governments focusing on healthcare and economies during the pandemic, the situation is unlikely to improve.

The impacts of the crisis are being felt in all areas of children's lives, from health, development and behaviour, to education, economic security and protection from violence and abuse, the report said.

More than 1.5 billion children have been affected by school closures and boys and girls have been left more vulnerable to child labour. Girls are also more vulnerable to child marriage and pregnancy, while disrupted vaccination programmes could lead to a big rise in infant mortality.

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