4 in 10 children live in poverty, infant mortality rate has increased by 43%, and youth unemployment has nearly hit 50%
The austerity policies, ordered by Greece's Troika of international creditors (EC, ECB and IMF), have worsened the socio-economic situation in Greece to a level not seen since the World War II.
UNICEF report “Children of the Recession” finds that child poverty is on the rise in Greece since 2008 and the crisis outbreak. Greece has the highest child poverty rate, which has jumped from 23% to 40.5%. The new-born death rate rose by 43% since austerity measures were implemented in the Greek healthcare system. The percentage of youth who do not study, work or follow a program of technical training in the country has increased to 20.6% in 2012 from 11.7% in 2008. Unemployment in the 15–24 age group increased from an already high base of over 20 per cent to more than 50 per cent in 2013. Half of all young job seekers remained unemployed. The median household incomes for families with children went 14 years back, sank to 1998 levels. The age group from 15 to 24 is the most affected by the crisis.
The UNICEF report features the effects of the crisis in Greece through the children’s eyes. School children revealed that they are highly aware of the problems that affect their immediate context. The number of children reporting that their family’s economic situation is ‘not well off’ doubled from 7.2 per cent in 2006 to 14.5 per cent in 2014. More than one child in five reported that at least one parent had lost their job, 5 per cent said their family could not afford to buy food, and about 30 per cent reported that the family had stopped going on holiday trips. Children told about increased stress on parents from income cuts or job losses. All these consequences have an effect on family relationships, as high as 27 per cent of children reported tension and fights within their families.
The numbers are shocking. Thousands of children are affected by the recession and many of them will suffer the consequences for life. “Hope for Children” UNCRC Policy Center calls upon the European Union and the Troika to assist Greece in every possible way to avoid the abuse of the rights of children as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.