Amsterdam, June 12th – International children’s rights foundation KidsRights and Erasmus University Rotterdam today published the KidsRights Index 2018. The annual global ranking – issued for the sixth consecutive year – maps how countries adhere to and are equipped to improve the rights of the child. The scope and methodology of the Index are unique, as it collects data from the most reputable sources available worldwide and identifies truly global trends and insights concerning children’s rights.

Romania’s overall ranking in 2018 is 114, a very low score which also stands out compared to the performances of many other EU member states. This is based on very current data, as Romania was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 2017 as part of the Committee’s state reporting procedure. Romania was assigned the lowest possible score on almost all indicators including enabling legislation, best interests of the child, respect for the views of the child, state-civil society, and available budget. The country has therefore performed worse than in 2009, when it was last reviewed by the CRC. The government is failing to allocate sufficient budget towards children. Alarmingly, vulnerable groups of children including within the Roma population, disabled children and children in rural areas are falling outside of the social safety net. Romania’s deteriorated performance is possibly illustrated best by the indicator enabling legislation, in which the country dropped from the highest to the lowest possible score in 2009 and 2017 respectively.

Global underspending on children’s rights

All 182 countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child have agreed to allocate their best available budget towards the rights of the child. Disappointingly, not one country in the Index lives up to this promise. A positive trend is the increased spending on children’s rights in recent years by several developing countries, including Peru, Zambia and Nepal. Peru increased the budget reserved for children and adolescents by 13% between 2013 and 2016.
Marc Dullaert, founder and chairman of KidsRights: “The increased spending by these developing countries should serve as an inspiration to all nations to spend more on children’s rights. It must at the same time be recognised, however, that corruption, the absence of a stabile child rights legislative and policy framework, as well as lack of monitoring of funds are often still preventing budget increases from achieving sustainable improvements to the daily lives of children in many countries. These issues must be resolved with priority to achieve long-term advances in such areas as health, education and child protection.”
Lack of child participation opportunities: a global cause for concern
Disappointingly, not one country in the entire Index achieved the highest score on the indicator Respecting the views of the child. 46 (out of 179) countries scored the lowest possible score on child participation, with Asia and the Pacific region performing particularly poorly. Marc Dullaert: “Promoting child participation is part of KidsRights’ core mission. We believe that children have the potential to be changemakers with the power to move the world. KidsRights therefore strongly urges countries both rich and poor to ensure that they structurally engage children and youth in decision-making processes and incorporate their views on matters that affect them directly.”

Overall ranking

Norway is 2018’s number one on children’s rights. Runners up are Iceland (2), Portugal (3), Spain (4), Switzerland (5), the Netherlands (6), Finland (7), Germany (8), France (9), Slovenia (10). Worst performing countries overall in the Index are Sierra Leone (182), Afghanistan (181), Chad (180),
Democratic Republic of the Congo (179), Equatorial Guinea (178), Central African Republic (177), Guinea-Bissau (176), Papua New Guinea (175), Eritrea (174) and The United Kingdom (173).
Per-state performances are not measured in terms of the absolute contributions to children’s rights, but are judged on countries’ efforts relative to their socioeconomic capabilities. The United Kingdom’s extremely low ranking, for example, does not in itself indicate that children are worse off there than those who live in less wealthy countries. It does mean, however, that the UK has underperformed drastically compared to its socioeconomic standing and capabilities.