The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is lamenting a high level of discrimination against children, saying it has contributed to 18.3 million out-of-school children in  Nigeria.

This was contained in a UNICEF latest report published ahead of World Children’s Day.

It said discrimination based on ethnicity, language, and religion is rife in countries worldwide, hence it must be discouraged to guarantee a fair and equal justice system, particularly for children with disabilities, poorest households, streets, and children affected by displacement or emergencies.

“Systemic racism and discrimination put children at risk of deprivation and exclusion that can last a lifetime.

“This hurts us all. Protecting the rights of every child – whoever they are, wherever they come from is the surest way to build a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world for everyone,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

Also noted in the report were foundational reading skills between the advantaged and marginalized children as 22 countries still lack far behind their peers, stressing that it has deepened intergenerational deprivation and poverty which heightens poor health, nutrition, and learning outcomes for children.

“On World Children’s Day and every day, every child has the right to be included, protected, and have an equal chance to reach their full potential.

“All of us can fight discrimination against children in our countries, our communities, our schools, our homes, and our hearts. We need to use that power.” said Russell..”

The report termed the likelihood of high rates of pregnancy among adolescent girls, and low employment rates and earnings in adulthood especially as COVID-19 have already exposed injustices and discrimination including access to immunization, water, and sanitation services across the globe.

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