Sri Lanka has improved one place to 60 in the report’s ‘End of Childhood’ index, which ranks countries according to where childhood is most and least threatened
Sri Lanka has been ranked as the second best country in South Asia for children to grow up in for the second successive year, and the 60th best across the globe, despite ongoing concerns over the impacts of parental migration, according to a new report.
Children, whose parents have migrated abroad, are among the most marginalized groups in Sri Lanka
More than half of all children globally – over 1.2 billion – are threatened by conflict, widespread poverty or discrimination against girls
Launched in the lead up to International Children’s Day on June 1st, The Many Faces of Exclusion examines countries on a range of indicators related to childhood like child marriage, teenage pregnancy and child mortality.
Sri Lanka showed promise across the board, avoiding any ‘moderate’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ scores. However, still more than 17 percent of Sri Lankan children below age 5 suffer from stunting, according to the report, while almost one percent of babies die before their fifth birthday.
Sri Lanka improved one place to 60 in the report’s ‘End of Childhood’ index, which ranks countries according to where childhood is most and least threatened. It outperformed most regional neighbours, with India ranking 113th, Bangladesh at 130th, Pakistan 149th and Myanmar 107th.
Despite the promising showing, Save the Children Sri Lanka said that children, whose parents have migrated abroad seeking employment, are among the most marginalized groups of children in Sri Lanka.
Evidence reveals that around 1.7 million Sri Lankans migrate annually in search of work. Foreign remittances are a crucial part of the Sri Lankan economy, contributing 7 percent to the GDP. This increases the vulnerability of the children of migrating parents, as carers or other relatives may not provide adequate parental care.
Parents expecting to migrate
“This can have a detrimental impact on a child’s well-being, facing major issues in terms of protection, health and nutrition, as well as missing out on that physically nurturing relationship,” Save the Children Country Director in Sri Lanka, Chris McIvor said.
“It’s really important for parents who consider migrating to work with the relevant Government authorities to ensure there is a safe child care plan in place for their children.
Save the Children is calling for strong coordination among all stakeholders working for and with children to recognize potential risks and vulnerabilities created by parental migration and ensuring children from identified vulnerable families get the most effective services.
In its second year, The Many Faces of Exclusion includes a ranking of 175 countries, with Singapore and Slovenia sharing first place, while Norway, Sweden and Finland rounded out the top five. Eight of the bottom 10 countries are in West and Central Africa, with Niger ranked last for the second year running.
The report also revealed that:
- More than half of all children globally – over 1.2 billion – are threatened by conflict, widespread poverty or discrimination against girls.
- More than one billion children live in countries plagued by poverty; 240 million in countries affected by conflict and fragility; and more than 575 million girls live in countries where gender bias is a serious issue.
- Almost 153 million children are living in 20 countries affected by all three threats—including South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan.
- The incidence of child labour in countries affected by armed conflict is 77% higher than the global average. Conflict also makes girls more vulnerable to child marriage.
- Only three of 34 fragile or conflict-affected states with available data have achieved, or nearly achieved, universal primary education.
Save the Children is calling on Governments around the world to ensure that no child dies from preventable or treatable causes or is subjected to extreme violence, robbed of a future as a result of malnutrition, enters into early or forced marriages, experiences early pregnancy, or engages in forced labour and on the other hand has access to a quality education.
Sri Lanka improved one place to 60 in the report’s ‘End of Childhood’ index, which ranks countries according to where childhood is most and least threatened