The Netherlands has a poor record on children’s rights and fails to uphold parts of the UN treaty on the rights of the child, according to a report by Unicef Nederland and Defence for Children International.
Too often the children of illegal immigrants are locked up or end up homeless when evicted from asylum seekers’ centres, the report says.
There is also a shortage of youth psychiatrists and not enough attention is paid to child abuse – Unicef claims some 100,000 children are abused every year. In addition, a tougher approach to crime means more minors are ending up in jail, the report says.
Compared with developing countries, the child death rate is low and almost all children can go to school, but there are still areas where Dutch policy is failing, Jan Pieter Kleijburg, director of Defence for Children International told Monday’s Volkskrant.
‘More children are locked up, thousands are waiting for social workers and that should not be the case in a rich country like the Netherlands,’ Kleijburg said.
Kleijburg said he welcomed the fact the Netherlands now had a minister for the family and children. But he called for the creation of an ombudsman for children who could monitor the government’s actions.
A panel of five experts assessed the Dutch performance on children’s rights in five areas: abuse, social work, criminal law, illegal immigration and healthcare.
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