children sitting in big hall
How are Liberia’s children?

Liberia has ratified (pledged to follow) the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that Liberia must respect the rights of the child and listen to what children have to say. Are the rights of the child respected in Liberia?

2.2 million children

4.5 million people live in Liberia. 2.2 million are children, and 700,000 of the children are under five years old.

Name and nationality

From the day you are born you have the right to have a name and to be registered as a citizen in your country. 156,000 children are born every year in Liberia. 3 out of 4 are never registered. There is no documented proof that they exist!

Survive and grow

You have the right to life. Liberia must do all it can to allow children to survive and develop. 1 out of 13 children in Liberia (11,000 every year) die before the age of 5, usually due to causes that could have been prevented. The number of children who die has decreased in later years, but is still high.

Health

You have the right to food, clean water, medical care and the right to privacy when consulting an adult about any health problem. Almost 8 out of 10 children in Liberia have water from improved water sources. Only 2 out of 10 children have access to adequate sanitation facilities. 4,000 children live with HIV/AIDS. 25,000 are AIDS orphans.

A home, clothing, food and security

You have the right to a home, food, clothing, education, health care and security. Almost 7 out of 10 children in Liberia live in extreme poverty with less than 1.90 US-dollar (310 Liberian dollars) a day to live on.

Education

You have the right to go to school. Primary and secondary schools should be free for everyone. Only 4 out of 10 children in Liberia go to school. Many children get almost no education at all, and illiteracy is high.

Protection against violence

You have the right to protection against all forms of violence, including neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Only 60 countries have forbidden all forms of corporal punishment for children. Many still allow caning in schools. Liberia has not forbidden corporal punishment.

Hazardous child labour

You have the right to be protected against both economic exploitation and work that is hazardous to your health or which prevents you from going to school. All work is prohibited for children under 12. Some children are forced into the worst forms of child labour, such as being debt slaves, child soldiers or used for commercial sexual exploitation. An estimated 240,000 children (2 out of 10 of the children aged 5-14) in Liberia have to work.

Your voice must be heard

You have the right to say what you think about any issue that affects you. The adults should listen to the child’s opinion before they make decisions, which must always be made in the best interest of the child!

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