UN Report states that ‘COVID-19 pandemic is turning into a broader child-rights crisis as the social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is potentially catastrophic for millions of children’.
As per Article 28 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the Right to Education. For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education. More than 91 percent of the world’s students are out of school, due to school closures in at least 188 countries. The crisis has exposed vast disparities in countries’ emergency preparedness, internet access for education, and availability of learning materials. Nearly half the world’s population – 46 percent – is not connected to the Internet according to United Nations estimates, despite the fact that internet access is considered a Fundamental enabler of Right to Human.
As per Article 32 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the right to be protected from economic exploitation. Orphaned children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and other exploitation, including sexual exploitation, forced begging, selling goods on the streets, and other child labour. Older children often drop out of school to try to support younger siblings.
As per Article 19 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the right to protection from all forms of abuse, physically or mentally. Added family stresses related to the COVID-19 crisis – including job loss, isolation, excessive confinement, and anxieties over health and finances – heighten the risk of violence in the home, including both between partners and by caregivers against children. The United Nations secretary-general has reported a “horrifying” global surge in domestic-based violence linked to COVID-19. Child abuse is less likely to be detected during the COVID-19 crisis, as child protection agencies also have reduced monitoring to avoid spreading the virus.
As per Article 27 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the right to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Children are likely to be experiencing worry, anxiety and fear. If schools have closed as part of necessary measures, then children may no longer have that sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment, and now they have less opportunity to be with their friends and get that social support that is essential for good mental well-being.
Death due to Hunger and Poverty
As per Article 6 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has Right to Life. It is estimated that 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crisis this year, adding to the estimated 386 million children already in extreme poverty in 2019. On the threats to child survival and health, the latest UN policy brief said “economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths in 2020.”
As per Article 24 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the right to the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and the rehabilitation of health. Millions of children are detained in the justice system, immigration detention or confined in orphanages or other institutions. In many such facilities, there is limited access to water and sanitation and no social distancing, which can facilitate the spread of COVID-19.
Sexual Exploitation of Children
As per Article 34 of The Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR) Every child has the right to be protected from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Europol has reported that law enforcement partners are reporting “increased online activity by those seeking child abuse material,” as a result of COVID-19. Children are spending more time online due to school shutdowns, and may be anxious or lonely because of isolation and confinement, making them more vulnerable to online predators.
Measures to safeguard Child Protection Rights in COVID-19:
- Cleanliness: Promote and Educate children and parents by means of radio, television and other forms of media to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.
- COVID Survivors: Increasing efforts to identify children orphaned by COVID-19 and expanding networks of extended family and providing them with all basic necessities.
- Economic Assistance: Provide economic assistance in the form of cash to low-income families in order to help them meet basic needs for their children.
- Economic Exploitation: Stricken laws relating to economic exploitation of children. Analyse the sectors involving Child Labour and taking appropriate actions to eradicate Child Labour.
- Education: Sponsoring basic education facilities and creating awareness among the Children as well as parents about the importance of Education.
- Eliminating Hunger: Allotting funds for food distribution drives and promoting NGOs to step-up and help in such drives.
- Healthcare: Funding and Upgrading the life-saving healthcare services for Children. Making healthcare facilities available in socially and economically backward places.
- Interactive Sessions: Promote Online Interactive Sessions for Children to avoid them from getting depressed and feeling socially eliminated.
- Internet: Prioritize efforts for continued education for all children. Using all available technology to make internet services available to the most.
- Public Awareness: Expanding public education, awareness campaigns, hotlines and other services for children at risk of violence in the home or online sexual exploitation.
- Shelter: Transferring children deprived of liberty to family-based care and ensuring suitable accommodation and sanitation for refugee, migrant, and internally displaced children.
- Sustainable Development: Sustainable Development i.e. development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs should be promoted in order to deal with the situation in the long run.