Urgent action needed or this health crisis risks becoming a child-rights crisis

UNICEF calls for an Agenda for action to protect the most vulnerable children from the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

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According to UNICEF, without urgent action, this health crisis risks becoming a child-rights crisis: “Disruptions to society have a heavy impact on children: on their safety, their well-being, their future”. Only by working together can we keep millions of girls and boys – including those who have been uprooted by conflict, children living with disabilities and girls at risk of violence – healthy, safe and learning.

UNICEF calls for swift global action to:

  1. Keep children healthy– governments and partners must sustain life-saving maternal, newborn and child health services. This means continuing to meet the urgent needs posed by COVID-19, while carrying forward critical health interventions, like funding for vaccinations, that ensure children survive and thrive. Our response to COVID-19 must be one that strengthens health systems for the long run.
  2. Reach vulnerable children with water, sanitation and hygiene – for many children, basic water and hygiene facilities remain out of reach.
  3. Keep children learning- ensure all children have equal access to learning. UNICEF calls upon governments to scale up home learning options, including no-tech and low-tech solutions, and prioritize Internet connectivity in remote and rural areas.
  4. Support families to cover their needs and care for their children- Social protection for the world’s most vulnerable children and the effects by the socio-economic impact of COVID-19
  5. Protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse – Boys and girls already at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse will find themselves even more vulnerable. Governments must prevent this pandemic must prevent from turning into a crisis of child protection.
  6. Protect refugee and migrant children, and those affected by conflict who face every day threats to their safety and well-being– For many of these girls and boys, access to basic health care and facilities is extremely limited, while cramped living conditions make social distancing unfeasible.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties across the world to “lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against  COVID-19” It is up to the global community to come together in support of the most vulnerable children – those torn from their families and homes – to uphold their rights and protect them from the spread of the virus.

The right to housing in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond

Our Coalition who has called for a Human Rights Habitat in the face of the pandemic, highlights the guidelines shared by Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing. Housing has become the frontline defense against the coronavirus and all the evictions must be prohibited. However, women and children who face any violence and may need to leave a household due to violence have the right to be  “provided with adequate alternative accommodations that ensure safety and provide access to water/sanitation, food, social supports, health services and testing for COVID19”.