One in every four children being robbed of their childhood.
Pakistan has just made it into the top 150 best countries to grow up in, ranking behind regional neighbors India, Iran and China, a new report ‘Stolen Childhoods’ reveals.
Stolen Childhoods comprises an index of 172 countries, ranking Pakistan as the 148th [or 25th worst country] best country for children to experience childhood, narrowly ahead of Afghanistan (152) but behind Sudan (144) and Yemen (140). Iran (80) and China (41) both made to the top 100, while India ranked 116th.
Child Rights Movement (CRM) launched the report in Pakistan yesterday. The report, prepared by Save the Children International, examines countries on a range of indicators related to childhood, with Pakistan performing worst on child stunting, which affects more than 45 percent of children under 5 across the country. According to the report, more than a quarter of Pakistani children do not go to school – among the highest rates in the world.
CRM Coordinator Alishba Yousaf said, “Pakistan’s ranking is not very surprising when you look at the alarming levels of stunting and undernutrition across the country, which affects almost half of all children. More than eight percent of children in Pakistan don’t survive until their fifth birthday.
“These alarming statistics underscore the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life, when they are most susceptible to stunting and most in need of good nutrition. This is an area that must be dramatically improved if Pakistan is to move up the rankings, and most importantly, ensure every child across the country can benefit from a safe and happy childhood.”
Mr. Waqas Jan said that Children suffering from undernutrition or stunting have increased risks of contracting diseases like acute diarrheal syndrome, acute respiratory infection and anaemia, while children, especially those with severe undernutrition, are more likely to die.
Syed Ishtiaq Ul Hassan Gilani said it was encouraging that the Government of Pakistan had taken positive steps by providing free and compulsory schooling, however some stricter measures were required to ensure compliance to the law. “There is an urgent need to invest more in children and to ensure the implementation of laws confirming free and compulsory education for children,” he said
“Having a safe and happy childhood is every child’s right, and that includes going to school, no matter where they are in the world. Here in Pakistan we need to do much more to ensure this right is protected.”
A PDF version of the report can be downloaded from this link:
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