KidsRights Index 2015: Countries worldwide fail to protect children’s rights

KidsRights, the international children’s rights foundation, today published the KidsRights Index 2015, which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. The Index shows that countries worldwide should do more to create an adequate ‘Enabling Environment’ for practically implementing children’s rights.

KidsRights found that all 165 countries analysed in the Index should increase their efforts in allocating the highest available budget to children’s rights, creating a legislative framework that reflects the best interests of the child, as well as in collecting and analysing data on children’s rights. The Index also shows that there is work to be done to improve children’s participation in society.

“ Children are much more than mere recipients of aid, they have in them the power to bring about change. So their voice should be heard on matters that directly affect them.„ Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of the KidsRights Foundation

Moreover, countries score poorly with respect to non-discrimination, and need to ensure that marginalised groups of children are not discriminated against.

These indicators constitute an important part of the KidsRights Index, because they tell us the extent to which the Committee on the Rights of the Child believes that countries are equipped to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Index shows that all 165 measured countries could do more to create an adequate enabling environment to guarantee children’s rights.

The West is not necessarily outperforming the rest

A striking conclusion is that economically better performing countries do not always perform well in honouring children’s rights in practice. New Zealand, Italy and Canada, for example, could improve their legislative infrastructure. They score especially poorly on ensuring that the best interests of the child are manifested in legislation and policies.

Notably, a number of African countries, including Benin, Mauritania and Zambia score remarkably high on providing an enabling environment for child rights. However, these countries still rank relatively low in the overall Index as they fail to meet acceptable standards in other areas, including protection of children’s rights and access to education and health. All countries examined by the Index score particularly poorly on non-discrimination.

KidsRights Index narrows gap between international policy making and daily lives of children

Member States of the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. The scale and ambition of the SDG agenda presents an unprecedented opportunity to truly improve the daily lives of children and youths. However, there is still a considerable gap between the goals decided at the international level and the local day-to-day realities of children and youths worldwide. Although the Index is not a direct tool for monitoring countries’ performances regarding the SDGs, it does provide crucial insights into what is being done and where countries need to do better. KidsRights concludes that in order to achieve those SDGs that affect children, all countries should at the very least fully implement the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

“The SDGs are a necessary list of ambitions to address cross-border issues including poverty, hunger and global warming. It is important to have such goals on the horizon, but what matters most are the results. The finish line for these UN plans is in 2030. Today’s children will be vivacious, young adults by 2030, so why wait to involve them?„ Marc Dullaert

Overall ranking

Norway ranks first overall this year. Runners up in the top ten are the Netherlands, Portugal, Iceland, Slovakia, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Tunisia and France. Thailand (25th) and Malaysia (27th) receive honourable mentions. These countries rank relatively high as they do exceptionally well in fostering an enabling environment for child rights. This year’s overall worst performing countries are Vanuatu, the Central African Republic, Angola, Afghanistan, Chad, Niger, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau and Equatorial Guinea.

About the KidsRights Index

The KidsRights Index is the annual global index published by the KidsRights Foundation which ranks how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve children’s rights. The KidsRights Index is an initiative of the KidsRights Foundation, in cooperation with Erasmus University Rotterdam; Erasmus School of Economics and the International Institute of Social Studies. It comprises a ranking of all UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and for which sufficient data is available, a total of 165 countries. The Index pools data from two reputable sources: quantitative data published each year in the ‘State of the World’s Children’ and qualitative data published by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its Concluding Observations for all countries that participate in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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