Sri Lankan children still seen at risk despite good health indicators
ECONOMYNEXT – Although Sri Lanka has some of south Asia’s best health indicators, with almost universal primary schooling, children are still seen facing risks such as violence, including physical abuse in the home.
Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Member of Parliament and chairperson of the Sri Lanka Parliamentary Caucus for Children said they had formed the group to address issues of children in Sri Lanka.
Four members of the Sri Lanka caucus joined fellow lawmakers from across South Asia in the first meeting of the South Asia Parliamentarian Platform for Children to agree ways to prioritise and safeguard children’s rights in a region.
The two day event last week was organised by UNICEF South Asia in coordination with the Parliament of Nepal in Kathmandu, a statement said.
“Despite economic growth and consequent improvements in realizing the rights of children, massive disparities still exist preventing children from living in dignity, reaching their full potential and making choices about their futures,” it said.
Sri Lanka, home to 8 million children under 18, has some of the region’s best health indicators, almost universal primary schooling, with nearly 90% of the population having access to safe drinking water.
“However violence against children, including physical abuse in the home remains a concern,” UNICEF said.
“And whilst the rate of extreme poverty has been declining (by 16% between 2002 and 2012) child poverty rates remain higher with pockets of extremely high vulnerability across the nation,” it said.
“Even though our indicators are really good, we still have issues like child marriage, school drop-outs and migration affecting children” said Fernandopulle.
“We need to invest more in policy reform and budgetary allocation in order to address the remaining disparities that prevent every child, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized, from reaching their full potential.”
(COLOMBO, March 06, 2017)