Stolen Childhood

Mongolia is 70th in a global ranking of the best and worst countries for children to grow up in, putting it well behind neighbouring China and Russia, as well as nearby Kazakhstan, a new report from Save the Children reveals.

The mid-table position comes after two consecutive dzud winters that affected hundreds of thousands of Mongolia’s herders and at a time when the economy is struggling to recover from a decline in the mining sector. Launched to coincide with International Children’s Day, Stolen Childhoods examines countries on eight different indicators related to childhood. Notably in Mongolia, the report found that more than 10 percent of children suffer stunting and at least 15 percent are in the workforce. “It is concerning to see so many children going to work instead of school, while stunting and malnutrition is also a significant concern,” Save the Children Country Director in Mongolia, Mitsuaki Toyoda said.

Having a safe and happy childhood is every child’s right, no matter where they are in the world. Here in Mongolia we need to do much more to ensure this right is protected.

“The dzud in particular has had an enormous impact on the children of herders, and their ability to experience full childhoods. Many have been unable to go school because they need to help their families during these challenging times, while access to quality food has also been impacted.”

The report’s index of 172 countries ranked neighbouring Russia as the 37th best country for children to experience childhood, with China coming in 41st. Nearby Kazakhstan ranked 40th, Kyrgyzstan 91st and Tajikistan 94th. Meanwhile Norway and Slovenia topped the index, with Niger ranking last.

“In 2015, the world made a promise that by 2030, all children be would be in school, protected, and healthy, regardless of who they are, and where they live. Although this is an ambitious target, it’s within reach if governments invest in all children to guarantee they have the full childhood they deserve,” Mr Toyoda said.

“It is unacceptable that in 2017, millions of children around the world still do not have their right to be safe, learn, grow and play. Mongolia has performed adequately when it comes to giving children a safe and happy childhood, however adequate isn’t enough. We can and we must do better than this.”

Globally, Stolen Childhoods found that at least 700 million children – and possibly hundreds of millions more – have had the promise of a full childhood brought to an early end. The report also found that:

  • Every day, more than 16,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday
  • About one quarter of all children under five (156 million) have their growth stunted as a result of malnutrition
  • One in six school-aged children worldwide is currently out of school
  • Conflict has forced nearly one child in 80 from their homes
  • 168 million children in the world are involved in child labour – 85 million in hazardous work – which is more than all children living in Europe (138 million)
  • One girl under 15 is forced to marry every seven seconds
  • Every two seconds, a girl gives birth

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