Girls, poor and black children most discriminated against - study

Children of poor families, girls and children of the Akhdaam (servants) are the most discriminated against in Yemen, a new study has found.



The unpublished study, titled ‘Discrimination against Children and its Relation to the Cultural and Social Status in Yemen’, was conducted by Dal Centre for Cultural and Social Studies, a local NGO, in cooperation with Save the Children Sweden.



The study was conducted over a one-year period in 12 out of the country’s 21 governorates, including four main cities (Sanaa, Aden, Taiz and Mukalla), three secondary cities (Seyoun, Zabid and Marib) and 12 villages in Hajjah, al-Mahweet, Ibb, al-Dhalei, al-Baidha and Abyan provinces.



The study surveyed 1,033 people, of whom 54 percent were children aged 6-17, and the rest were parents, adults working with children and religious and social figures.



Some 78 percent of respondents said children faced discrimination in one form or another.



Hamoud al-Awdi, head of Dal Centre, said discrimination against children “threatens social harmony” in Yemen and added that poverty had become a major source of discrimination and contempt.



The study identified 13 categories of children that faced discrimination and 45 kinds of discrimination, ranging from sexism to sexual exploitation. Some 90 percent of respondents said the children most vulnerable to discrimination were Akhdaam (children of servants, who are mostly black), girls and poor children.



According to the study, 12 factors were responsible for discrimination against children, most notable of which were economic disparities, unwillingness of parents to educate children about discriminatory practices and illiteracy.



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