UNITED NATIONS : Racism and discrimination against children based on their ethnicity, language, and religion are rife in countries across the world, according to a new report by Unicef.
Children from marginalised ethnic, language, and religious groups in an analysis of 22 low- and middle-income countries lag far behind their peers in reading skills, Xinhua news agency quoted the report titled, ‘Rights denied: the impact of discrimination on children’, as saying.
On an 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, the report revealed.
Discrimination and exclusion deepen intergenerational deprivation and poverty, and result in poorer health, nutrition, and learning outcomes for children, higher likelihood of incarceration, higher rates of pregnancy among adolescent girls, and lower employment rates and earnings in adulthood, it added.
“Exclusion and discrimination during childhood cause harm that can last a lifetime,” said Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell on Friday.
“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.”
The report was released ahead of the World Children’s Day, which falls on November 20 each year.
“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,” said Russell.
“All of us have the power to fight discrimination against children — in our countries, our communities, our schools, our homes, and our own hearts. We need to use that power.” — IANS