Children of Mauritius
Realizing Children’s Rights in Mauritius
Despite the fact that Mauritius is an economically developed country, poverty persists and has implications for children who markedly suffer discrimination, lack of schooling, and sexual exploitation. Thus, although the government has provided considerable support for children’s rights in recent years, some human rights violations are still too frequent.
Realization of Children’s Rights Index: 8,11 / 10
Population: 1,322 million
Life expectancy: 73,6 years
Main problems faced by children in Mauritius:
Although Mauritius is relatively economically developed and most of the population lives decently, some families, especially those from the Creole community, continue to live in extreme poverty.
Despite many advances made in regards to birth and postnatal care, there is a relatively high rate of infant mortality (11.5 ‰). This is partly due to the remoteness of some families who do not have direct access to health services.
Child and maternal malnutrition is also a factor in this mortality rate. The extreme poverty of some families prevents proper nutrition and even the ability to provide basic food needs for their children.
In addition, these families often do not have access to drinking water and must drink unsafe water which causes diseases in children and expectant mothers.
Therefore, there remains a great need to improve for the most isolated communities’ access to childcare. . (+ Sanitation ….)
Despite a relatively high enrollment, children do not have access to education equally. This is due particularly to the lack of accessibility of schools, most of which are located in urban areas.
Some children, mostly without families, live on the street and quickly find themselves out of school because they must work to support themselves.
In addition, there is a small proportion of children with disabilities without the right to a “normal” education. Indeed, it is worrying to see the reluctance of schools to admit these children for fear that they would slow the pace of learning.
Discrimination persists towards certain groups of children, especially children with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, children from disadvantaged families and children from the Creole community.
The lack of awareness about HIV/AIDS results in discriminatory attitudes towards those infected. Ignorance of the modes of transmission and fear of the disease breeds prejudice.
Disabled children are also victims of discrimination. Rejected and sometimes abandoned by their families, they are often excluded from school. The Mauritian Constitution also does not protect against discrimination based on disability.
On the other hand, some children from the Creole community suffer from racial discrimination. But the state is providing more and more provisions to effectively fight against this stigma.
Corporal punishment is still inflicted on children in families, schools, penal institutions and support institutions. And although the government takes measures to eliminate all forms of violence against children, it has not yet made arrangements that would allow for successful rehabilitation of minors who are victims.
They are 6,780 children who live on the streets, while the Mauritian authorities continue to deny the importance or even the existence of this problem. Most of them are aged 11 to 16 years old, do not go to school and have worked since the age of 13.
Children are on the street for various reasons, such as a lack of parents or a difficult socioeconomic status. These children are left to fend for themselves and become easy prey for those of ill intentions (sexual abuse, abuse etc …).
Another key problem specifically affectinghomeless children is drug addiction. Among the young living on the streets, drug abuse plays an important role, and it is usually caused by the influence of poverty. This consumption can have disastrous consequences on the lives and health of children. In addition, the use of syringes promotes the spread of HIV/AIDS among children.
In Mauritius, despite numerous measures taken by the State, the majority of children still fall victim to sexual exploitation, especially girls.
They come to Port Louis from all across the country and are driven to prostitution, often by friends, family members or businessmen.
Taxi drivers are also held responsible for human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. They are in fact intermediaries offering not only transport facilities but also negotiate arrangements between prostitutes and those who hire them.
The absence of clear legal provisions establishing the minimum age of criminal responsibility is worrying. In addition, the country has very little use of alternative socio-educational measures and frequently applies custodial sentences for minors.