The Netherlands has fallen two places on the latest annual international league table for children’s rights, behind countries such as Thailand, Tunisia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Two years ago the country ranked second on the list, compiled by the KidsRights Foundation and Rotterdam’s Erasmus University, but the latest report puts it in 15th place. The study assesses 165 countries on the basis of how well they adhere to international standards on children’s rights.
Countries are scored on their performance in five areas: the right to life, health, education, protection and whether they create an ‘enabling environment’ for children’s rights. The Netherlands ranked in the top 20 on health, life and protection but was outside the top 50 on the right to education and environment.
The report criticised the Dutch authorities for not offering all children equal access to youth care services and for the fact that children in poverty were disproportionately hard hit by austerity measures during the last recession.
The devolution of children’s services to local authorities was also blamed for creating greater inequality in access to youth care in different regions.
Former children’s ombudsman Marc Dullaert, now a spokesman for KidsRights, said improving conditions for the most vulnerable children should be a priority for the next government. ‘By continuing to invest in children and families who are living in poverty we can prevent poverty being passed on from generation to generation,’ he told NOS.
Portugal topped the ranking table, followed by Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Spain.