PH ranks high in global report on children's rights

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is among the ranks of developed countries that uphold the rights of children, the 2016 KidsRights Index report found. 

The country placed 73rd out of the 163 countries surveyed by Amsterdam-based organization KidsRights Foundation. The Philippines got an overall score of 0.791.

The survey, commissioned in partnership with Erasmus University Rotterdam, assessed United Nations (UN) member countries that have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They surveyed countries based on how they uphold the children’s rights to life, health, education, and how they provide a good environment for the children. (READ: UNICEF: PH 'a little behind' in upholding children's rights)

Life, health, education, protection

The Philippines got the highest ranking in the child’s rights environment domain, placing 10th to 19th with a score of 0.833.

This sector measures a country’s capability to avoid discrimination, espouse the best interest of the child, respect the views of the younger sector, encourage child participation, and provide the best available budget, among others.

Providing protection for children in terms of curbing child labor, adolescent birth rate, and ensuring birth registration were also a strong suit of the country as it ranked 89th and scored 0.789. 

It got the lowest rating in education with a 0.789 rating, ranking 108th. The indicators used for this area were statistics on primary school participation, secondary school participation, primary and secondary school enrollment ratio, survival rate, and net attendance ratio.

In the life domain, the Philippines ranked 103rd and got a score of 0.769. This field gauged the country based on under age 5 mortality ratio, life expectancy at birth, and maternal mortality ratio.

Meanwhile, in the health sector, the country obtained a score of 0.749, landing at the 104th place.

Child rights and protection group Save the Children acknowledges the gains the country has made, especially in having a “robust legal framework” for the children. There, however, remains gaps in implementing these policies.

"Many of these are not fully implemented and remain either unfunded or under-resourced. At the end of the day, the actual situation of children, especially those from deprived families, will provide the evidence of whether the ‘positive rights environment’ has led to transformative changes in their and their families' lives,” the group said in a statement.

Global call  

Norway topped the global list with an overall rating of 0.981, followed by Portugal (0.960) and Iceland (0.958). Spain and Switzerland got the 4th and 5th spots with 0.951 and 0.944 overall scores, respectively.

The study also found that a country’s economic standing is not directly related to the provision of a humane and rightful environment for the youth sector.

“Italy (81st), Canada (72nd), and Luxembourg (56th), for example, are urged to improve the infrastructures they have built for children’s rights. These wealthy countries are in a position to invest in children’s rights, but fail to do so sufficiently,” KidsRights said in its release.

It added: “Tunisia (10th) and Thailand (21st), on the other hand, deserve honorable mentions in that respect… Thailand, for example, scores well on their national legislation enabling children’s rights,” the group said.

That is why aside from the Philippines and Thailand, the other developing countries listed among the highest scorers were Vietnam (0.844), Tajikistan (0.818), Azerbaijan (0.803), and Bhutan (0.821).

Despite the considerably high scores, KidsRights continues to urge all 163 countries to increase their efforts in fighting discrimination against “vulnerable and marginalized” children’s groups.

“Vulnerable and marginalized children, including refugee children, migrant children, disabled children, street children and indigenous children, are still widely discriminated against,” said KidsRights.

Aside from this, the foundation still sees a wide gap between the state and civil society in cooperating to ensure child protection.

“KidsRights is especially alarmed by the increased threats posed to the safety of children’s rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists. In too many countries such practitioners are being harassed, threatened, abused or jailed,” the group said.

They also fear the nations’ failure to allow for “true child participation”.

KidsRights Foundation founder and chairman Marc Dullaert noted: “Not a single one of the 163 countries analyzed in the Index achieved the highest possible score on child participation. This means that the views of the 2.2 billion children on this planet are not being heard adequately regarding issues that affect them directly.”

“KidsRights strongly urges all countries to increase efforts to ensure that the views of children are properly respected,” he stressed. –

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.