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Study: Mideast Conflicts Hurt Child Development
A woman carries a child in the western part of Iraq's northern city of Mosul, on April 24, 2017, as Iraqi forces continue the offensive to retake the area from the Islamic State. (Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images)

Study: Mideast Conflicts Hurt Child Development

An annual study compiled by Save the Children found that one in four individuals under the age of 18 worldwide is being deprived of the right to a safe and healthy childhood, with Middle East instability greatly contributing to the problem. Overall, the organization estimates that 690 million children are suffering from issues such as forced displacement (31 million), and that at least 420 million continue to live in conflict zones. According to the survey, two regional countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – are among the five worst places for children to live, while the ongoing war in Syria is the primary reason for the increase in child refugees. Despite the negative findings, the study concluded that conditions for children have improved over the past two decades in all but three of the 176 nations analyzed. This includes a 49 percent decline in under-five mortality rates; a 17% drop in the incidence of child homicides; a 33% reduction in children out of school; a 40% dip in child laborers; and a 25% decrease in child marriages. Sweden, Finland, Norway, Slovenia and Singapore were ranked the best countries for children to be raised in.

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