You remember all those amazing things about being a kid, right?
You can still taste the remnants of Rola Cola, Gold Spot and pouched Sip-Sip on your tongue. What about Chacha Chaudhary, Mowgli and Malgudi days? Don’t pretend you’ve forgotten about the Champak joke section that kept you up for hours.
Everyone has fond childhood memories, wherever you are in the world. Undeniably though some places definitely have better things for kids. Maybe it’s fizzy drinks, comic strips. For some, it’s a little more serious than candies, although candies seemed pretty damn serious to me at that age.
How about human rights, education and quality of life? We all know there are better and worse places in the world to be a kid. Let’s take a look at ten of the top places in the world to raise a little human..
Alongside the most tranquil scenery you’ve ever seen, Iceland has some of the strictest laws on child labor. It is against the law to employ someone under 16 into ‘hard labor’. Despite this, children of 14 may work part-time or during school vacations in nonhazardous jobs. We’re still trying to work out what counts as nonhazardous, though.. ice cream van?
With some of the cleanest air in the world, you can also rest assured children here will never face the same pollution turmoils as we have recently undergone in Delhi. They might need a wooly hat to survive, though.
Oh America, where do we start? The USA is notorious for boasting to be strong in many aspects, but children’s rights are something they can legitimately claim.
Children’s rights include the right to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for food, universal state-paid education, health care and equal protection of the child’s civil rights. Inevitably, there’s something missing. Unfortunately, the country remains the only place in the world that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I’m sure it’s not the worst decision they’ve ever made… moving swiftly on.
Children won’t go ‘Hungry’ here… ok, sorry – I’ll stop that. There has been significant progress in primary education access across the country, although still, only 1% of impoverished and minority children graduate from higher education. Additionally, the minimum age for marriage is 16, which is too young according to UN observers.
Renowned for being efficient in every manner, Germany naturally had to be on the list. Like that protective older brother, Germany is part of the global conventions that protect the rights of the child, yet they prefer to interpret these according to their own concepts of European agreements, in particular, the European Human Rights Convention. Loads of sausages as well we heard, which I’m sure makes any childhood better.
It’s sunny all the time! What more do children need? Alright, alright – children in Australia also have the right to special protection because of their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse. In fact, their human rights policy is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. And, pet kangaroos.
You’d be forgiven for thinking your child will turn into an alcoholic in Ireland if you look at statistics from the Health Research Board. But it’s not all about Guinness, shamrocks and leprechauns. Ireland is committed to promoting the rights of their children. The country signed up to the UN Convention of Rights of the Child in 1992. But they’ve got their own style. Ireland’s own Children’s Rights Alliance uses the convention as a framework and put their own twist on it, changing around Ireland’s laws, policies and services to make sure that all children are protected, nurtured and empowered.
We’re all aware of the liberal social attitudes across The Netherlands. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean your kid will turn into a raging hippie. Growing up in The Netherlands means children will have access to a ton of rich culture, boasting some of the world’s best painters’. Vincent van Gogh for one, and I’m pretty sure he turned out alright.. There’s also 13 million bikes in Holland. With a population of approximately 16.5 million, this is almost one bike per person!
Whilst cycling around, you can also be assured that children’s rights are very protected, with the responsibility lying with the core group members of the Dutch NGO Coalition for Children’s Rights: Defense for Children International Netherlands, UNICEF Netherlands, National Association for Child and Youth Legal Advice Centers. That’s pretty heavy protection. Better wear a helmet on that bike as well, though, just to be safe.
Austria may be smaller than some on the list but their preventative practices to address children’s issues are large! Each state government has an ombudsman for children and adolescents whose main function is to resolve complaints about violations of children’s rights. They also provide free legal counseling to children, adolescents, and parents on a wide range of problems, including child abuse, child custody, and domestic violence.
Denmark has a National Council for Children and a long term reputation for addressing human rights issues. Over time, various governments have focused on areas such as freedom of expression and religion, eliminating racism and in particular, children’s rights issues. That’s right – they’ve pretty much eliminated racism. How is that quantifiable you ask? Well.. it isn’t. But trust us, Denmark is widely regarded one of the best in the world in terms of economy and national services for bringing up a child.
10. Where they feel comfortable
Despite the unfortunate circumstance of being born into a place that brings additional challenges, it may be better to help develop your child within the scenario they’ve been presented with. Moving away will not change the violations already in place. We need to work within the structures to change them and make the place they’re born a funner and safer place for our children.
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