Vietnam third best on child rights in Southeast Asia: survey

By Nguyen Quy   May 28, 2020 | 12:32 am PT
Vietnam third best on child rights in Southeast Asia: survey
A teacher visits children at a village in Quang Tri Province in central Vietnam during the Covid-19 pandemic to teach them how to wash hands, March 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Tao.
A global ranking on child rights placed Vietnam at 57th out of 182 economies, third best in Southeast Asia following Thailand and Malaysia.

Vietnam scored an average 0.786 out of 1, putting the country ahead of many of its Asian neighbors in promoting child rights, according KidsRights Index 2020 released by KidsRights Foundation, an international aid and advocacy organization.

The country has done better than Asian peers like China (109th), India (113rd) and Australia (135th) in terms of protecting its children.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam stood above Singapore (65), Brunei (70), the Philippines (80th), Indonesia (110), Laos (117th), Cambodia (128th) and Myanmar (131st).

Iceland topped the ranking where child rights are best guaranteed, followed by Switzerland and Finland.

The Netherlands-based organization ranked 182 countries and territories around the world based on five metrics including the right to life, right to health, right to education, right to protection and the enabling environment for child rights, using data and evidence collected from the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child.

The index is not an absolute ranking of countries where children have the best life but scores nations relative to their capacity in implementing child rights.

Of all categories, Vietnam performed better in promoting the right to life, securing 84th place with a score of 0.835, and performed worst in the health indicator, ranking 109th with a score of 0.839.

The country fared poorly in the education category, ranking 92nd while it came in 87th in ensuring child protection.

According to official statistics, Vietnam has 24.7 million children as of June last year, accounting for 25.7 percent of its total population of 96 million.

Vietnam has cut its child labor rate by two thirds since 2000 to 9 percent. Its progress in tackling poverty has improved living conditions for many families and reduced their need to send children to work.

The country has been implementing a national campaign to prevent child labor since 2016.

In 2018, the country launched a Zero Hunger program that seeks to lower malnutrition rates and stunted growth through improved nutrition and sustainable food production.

Kidsrights Foundation stated the fallout from measures taken by the governments to reduce the spread of Covid-19 would have lasting effects on children globally.

School closures in 188 countries and territories affect 1.5 billion children, leaving them vulnerable to child labor, child marriage and teenage pregnancy.

"Millions of children were out of school for a long period and we see especially in developing countries that, even after the easing of lockdown, there is an enormous drop-off rate, with large numbers of children failing to return," said Marc Dullaert, foundation chairman.

In Vietnam, over 22 million students only returned to school this month after around three months of pandemic break.

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