New Zealand & UK among worst countries for children’s rights – study
The KidsRights Index, which is published each year by the KidsRights Foundation, tracks the children’s rights records of countries around the globe.
The survey consists of five domains: right to life; right to health; right to education; right to protection; and nurturing an enabling environment for child rights.
While many nations in this year’s bottom 10 are developing countries with fewer resources, some aren't. Two of them – New Zealand and the UK – particularly stand out among their peers.
New Zealand was ranked 158th out of 165 – a sharp fall from last year’s 45th position.
While the country ranked fairly well for right to life (17th), health (36th), education (26th), and protection (37th), it was almost at the very bottom in the child rights environment domain, receiving a ranking of 161st out of 165.
The child rights environment category assesses if the best interests of children are looked out for, whether children’s views are respected, and the prevalence of non-discrimination, among other factors.
Meanwhile, Britain was ranked the tenth worst country on the overall list, dramatically falling to 156th place from last year’s 11th place position.
Just like New Zealand, the UK’s worst ranking was in the child rights environment domain. It ranked 25th in right to life; 15th-16th for health; 3rd for education; and 35th for protection.
Other countries in the bottom 10 of the overall index include the Central African Republic; Afghanistan; Sierra Leone; Vanuatu; Chad; Equatorial Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; and Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, The KidsRights Index gave Portugal this year’s first place ranking, citing the country’s “strong performances in the fields of child legislation, health, and education.”
Norway placed second, and Switzerland took third place. Russia was ranked 86th (up two places from last year).
The index was quick to point out that “economically prosperous countries are not necessarily outperforming the rest,” noting that poorer countries, including Thailand and Tunisia, made it into the top ten.
“Overall, the Index shows that industrialized nations are falling drastically short of allocating sufficient budgets towards creating a stable environment for children’s rights,” a press release states.
“Although many poorer states deserve praise for their efforts relative to their budgets and means, it is alarming that the industrialized world is neglecting its leadership responsibilities and failing to invest in the rights of children to the best of its abilities,” it continues.
The KidsRights Foundation is an international children’s aid and advocacy organization. In cooperation with Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, it ranks all nations that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child for which sufficient data is available. The United States is the only UN country that has not ratified the Convention and is, thus, not included in the rankings.