AMERICA/MEXICO - Indigenous children and adolescents forced to leave school to work or to marry

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Merida (Agenzia Fides) - In Mexico and Yucatan, indigenous girls, boys and adolescents constitute a high proportion of the population vulnerable to the conditions of poverty in which they live, which lead them not to enjoy their fundamental rights. The Human Rights Commission of Yucatan State has reported that a large part of the indigenous population of the whole country (59.2%) and it is estimated that 76.1% of the Mayans, live in poverty. Among the poor, children are the most disadvantaged. The illiteracy rate is four times higher than the national average. Many young people drop out of school because they are forced to work.
According to a research on child labor carried out by the Geographic National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEGI), 36% of children between 6 and 14 work, twice the national average, which is 15.7%. Another important factor which leads them to leave school is the early marriage of indigenous girls, who marry before the age of 15 (almost 5%) compared to 2 % of the non-indigenous. The state of Yucatan has however made significant strides in the defense of children's rights with laws for the protection of the rights of girls, boys and adolescents. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 06/05/2014)