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Child rights in Tunisia marked by wide disparities, new data shows

© UNICEF/Tunisia-2013/Dhahri

Tunisia launches findings of new household surveys

TUNIS, 16 December 2013 – Wide regional and income disparities are depriving a large number of children in Tunisia from enjoying their full rights, UNICEF said today.

“While progress has been made on most indicators at the national level, important disparities still remain. A significant number of children and women continue to suffer multiple deprivations,” UNICEF Representative in Tunisia Maria-Luisa Fornara said at the launch of the final report of the fourth round of Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS4), a UNICEF-supported statistical tool that helps monitor the situation of women and children in Tunisia.

According to results of the survey, which covered a sample of 9,600 households, children from rural areas and low-income families are lagging behind their peers from richer households and urban areas in terms of access to quality services.

While the national infant mortality rate, for example, is at 17 per 1,000 live births, it reaches 25 per 1,000 live births in rural areas, compared to 12 per 1,000 live births in urban areas. Likewise, under-five mortality is estimated at 26 per 1,000 live births in rural households, compared to 15 per 1,000 live births in urban ones.

In addition, more than half of children aged 3 to 5 (56 per cent) have no access to early childhood education. These include more than 80 per cent of rural children and some 40 per cent of urban children in that age group. Only 13 per cent of children (3 to 5 years) from the poorest quintile go to KG, compared to 80 per cent of those from the richest quintile.

Violence remains widely accepted as a method of discipline, with 93 per cent of children subject to violent forms of discipline. Physical violence varies between 48 per cent of the northwestern areas to 22 per cent in the northeast (32 per cent at national level).

“The findings of this study could not have come at a more critical time, as Tunisia works on new development strategies and reforms,” Fornara said. “The new data, disaggregated by sex, age, region, and income, will help policymakers better analyze, and address, the disparities marring progress for children.”

© UNICEF/Tunisia-2013/Dhahri

This is the third time MICS are conducted in Tunisia. This latest round was led by the Ministry of Development and International Cooperation and the National Institute of Statics, with technical and financial assistance from UNICEF as well as support from UNFPA and the Swiss Cooperation Bureau.

About MICS
Since the mid-1990s, the MICS have enabled many countries to produce statistically sound and internationally comparable estimates of a range of indicators in the areas of health, education, child protection and HIV/AIDS. MICS findings have been used extensively as a basis for policy decisions and programme interventions, and for the purpose of influencing public opinion on the situation of children and women around the world. They are also critical in monitoring countries’ progress toward national goals and global commitments. Over the last 17 years, 240 MICS surveys have been conducted in more than 100 countries.

For further information, please contact:
Mokhtar Dhahri, UNICEF Tunisia,




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