AMMAN — Jordan is moving forward in promoting children's rights in all fields including health, education and legal rights, a Department of Statistics (DoS) report indicated on Monday.

Released on the occasion of "Universal Children's Day", observed annually on November 20, the report showed that 46 per cent of the Kingdom's population in 2011 was below the age of 18.

According to the report, Jordan has achieved progress in healthcare services provided for children and this was reflected in a reduction in infant mortality.

In 2009, the infant mortality rate was 23 deaths per 1,000 births, while in 1990 the rate was 36.8 deaths per 1,000 births.

The DoS report attributed this improvement to the development of healthcare services, including the national vaccination programme, as well as an increase in child and maternity care centres — from 307 in 1996 to 435 in 2011.

The target of one of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to reduce the infant mortality rate to 17 deaths per 1,000 births by 2015.

In 2000, world leaders outlined the MDGs — which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015.

In addition, the Kingdom's adoption of laws preventing child marriages led to a drop in marriages involving girls aged between 15 and 19 years — from 32 per cent in 2000 to 26 per cent in 2011.

In addition, the enrolment rate in primary education rose from 84.5 per cent in 2000 to 98.3 per cent in 2010, according to DoS.

The report also showed that 66.5 per cent of children in the 5-14 age category use computers, while 26.1 per cent are Internet users.

In December 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children's Day, "to be observed as a day of worldwide fraternity and understanding between children", according to the UN website.

November 20 marks the day in 1959 on which the General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and in 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

Jordan ratified the CRC in 1991, committing to a periodic report to be submitted every five years, and has been submitting reports to Geneva on the implementation of the convention ever since.