Discrimination, Racism Deprive Children a Lifetime -UNICEF
Findings from a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF indicate that racism and discrimination deprive children’s well-being for life.
The report published to mark World Children’s Day shows that discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, language, and religion is standard worldwide and deprives children of their lifetime achievements.
The findings are based on an analysis of children from marginalized ethnic, religious, and language groups in 22 countries including Nigeria
Among the new findings, the report shows that children from marginalized ethnic, language, and religious groups lag far behind their peers in reading skills.
And on average, students aged 7-14 from the most advantaged group are more than twice as likely to have foundational reading skills than those from the least advantaged group, reveals the report.
According to UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, “Systemic racism and discrimination put children at risk of deprivation and exclusion that can last a lifetime,”
The effect of discrimination shows on children’s education, health, access to a registered birth, and a fair and equal justice system, and also highlights widespread disparities among minority and ethnic groups. This is right denied.
UNICEF’s chief, Russell noted, “This hurts us all. Protecting the rights of every child – whoever they are, wherever they come from – is the surest way to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world for everyone.”
Nigeria presently has 18.3 million out of School children and a high number of children who are attending schools are not even getting solid education that can translate into good prospects for their future.
While this crisis affects children across the country, girls indeed children with disabilities, those from the poorest households, street children, and children affected by displacement or emergencies are affected more, the finding reveals.
The report points out that discrimination and exclusion deepen intergenerational deprivation and poverty and result in poorer health, nutrition, and learning outcomes for children.
Discrimination and exclusion were observed to equally contribute to a higher likelihood of incarceration, higher rates of pregnancy among adolescent girls, and lower employment rates and earnings in adulthood
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The UNICEF report observed that while COVID-19 exposed deep injustices and discrimination across the world, and the impacts of climate change and conflict continue to reveal inequities in many countries, discrimination and exclusion have long persisted for millions of children.
The findings conclude that these children from ethnic and minority groups and those with disabilities have no easy access to immunization, water and sanitation services, and a fair justice system, the findings conclude.
“On World Children’s Day and every day, every child has the right to be included, to be protected, and to have an equal chance to reach their full potential,
“All of us have the power to fight discrimination against children – in our countries, our communities, our schools, our homes, and our hearts. We need to use that power, said UNICEF Chief, Russell.