One quarter of the world’s children are being denied a childhood, a new report from Save the Children has revealed. The report includes a global index ranking the places where childhood is most and least threatened.
Launched to coincide with International Children’s Day, the Stolen Childhoods report has 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 reasons vary from extreme violence and conflict, often driving families from their homes; early marriage and pregnancy; child labour, poor health and not being able to go to school.
The index finds that childhoods in West and Central Africa are most threatened. Niger is ranked the lowest, followed by Angola, Mali, Central African Republic, and Somalia. The countries where childhood is the least threatened—Norway, Slovenia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden—are all located in Europe.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, CEO of Save the Children International, said: “Children growing up in war, being targeted by violent groups, suffering and dying from disease, and experiencing harsh discrimination, are being robbed of everything that makes them children. 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. We must, and we can, do better than this.”