IGOHR Urges all Governments to Enact more Legislation to Protect Children against Violence and Discrimination Worldwide
The International Gulf Organization for Human Rights (IGOHR) welcomes the release of the 2017 KidRights Index report published by the KidsRights Foundation which is a global index which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. IGOHR views such an index as imperative in the field of children’s rights because it helps state parties to the Convention of the rights of the Child identify their obligations pertaining to the implementation of the provisions in this human rights instrument and enable children reach their full potentials to become tomorrow’s leaders.
The KidsRights Index is an initiative developed by the KidsRights Foundation – a Netherland based civil society organization – and in collaboration with the Erasmus University Rotterdam; Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies. The Foundation uses a scientific approach in ranking and charting all the UN member states – a total of 165 countries – that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and how they implement children’s rights for which sufficient data is available. The purpose of publishing this index is to create public awareness on children’s rights, stimulate public opinion and enable governments around the world to take positive actions in respecting and cultivating an enabling environment for children’s rights. The Index covers five domains which are based on the general principles underlying the CRC. These five domains are: Right to Life; Right to Health; Right to Education; Right to Protection; and Enabling Environment for Child Rights.
Sadly, the 2017 index revealed that violence and discrimination against children is still a global concern. According to the KidsRights Index, many vulnerable and marginalized groups including girls, disabled children, refugees and street children are widely discriminated against. These kids usually lack access to education and basic health care and they are not given the same opportunities to develop themselves as other children. In fact, most countries scored very poor or bad on implementing policies that protects children against discrimination. Most countries equally performed poorly on protecting children against violence such as psychological and sexual abuses.
International Gulf Organization for Human Rights stresses that the discrimination and violence that children are subjected to leaves them with deep emotional scars, great distress and many vulnerabilities that will affect the way that they live, learn, love, trust. It will equally have a tremendous impact on the way that they will enjoy life and achieve their full potentials. IGOHR also emphasizes that the right of children to non-discrimination as well as the right to life, survival and development are fundamental principles outlined in the CRC to which all states have the legal obligation to fulfill toward children. But despite the fact that most countries have ratified the CRC, too many children around the world are abused or discriminated against. Global estimates reveal that one out of five girls and one out of ten boys will be abused at least once before at the age of 16-years-old.
Although some nations have made significant progress in respecting the rights of children, many states including affluent societies have failed or done little to improve on the rights and wellbeing of children. As illustrated in the 2017 KidsRight Index, countries that have achieved considerable success in this domain includes Portugal, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Spain, France, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia and Finland. These countries score relatively high as they have improved substantially in fostering an enabling environment for children’s rights. On the other hand, countries such as United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Vanuatu, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Central African Republic scored remarkably poor.
Hence, IGOHR joins the KidsRights Foundation to reiterate that a lot more have to be done to combat violence and discrimination against children especially vulnerable groups. IGOHR strongly urge government officials, law makers and stakeholders of the 165 member states to the CRC to make violence and discrimination against children a top priority on their policy agenda for 2017. Each country should develop and implement a national comprehensive agenda and more legislations on violence and discrimination against children. There should equally be an introduction of an explicit legal frameworks that recognize and guarantee the rights of all children and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination against children.
IGOHR also calls on governments around the world to collect sound data and conduct research to assess the magnitude and impact of violence and discrimination against children as well as to provide sound evidence to inform planning and policy and budget area decisions for violence prevention and elimination. Countries should do more to grant equal opportunities for all children go to be educated, to develop, and to have access to health care. This will help children reach their full potentials in line with the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development which shapes a vision of a world of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies which are free from fear and from violence which can only be achieved with educated, safe and healthy children.