[International] COVID-19’s Devastating Impact on Children

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09 Apr 2020
Human Rights Watch

According to a report released by Human Rights Watch, the COVID-19 crisis will have a long-term negative impact on children, though they are much less threatened by the virus than other age groups.

Due to the virus, around 1.5 billion children globally cannot attend school and this situation increases the risk of domestic violence, child labour and sexual exploitation. Additionally, many children have been orphaned because of the pandemic.

Most schools do not have the proper technology or internet access to provide online education for children, and consequently many will fall further behind their peers.

The danger of domestic violence is also increasing as people lose their jobs. The Human RIghts Watch reports suggests that the number of violent incidents between partners and against children has doubled during this time, but the situation is difficult as child protection agencies and teachers are unable to visit families and address these issues.

Another endangered group are the children living in overcrowded migrant camps where there is no possibility for social distancing, handwashing or online education.

These issues have led Human Rights Watch to ask governments to take action to protect children, such as:

  • Prioritizing efforts to continue education for all children
  • Providing economic assistance to low-income families
  • Increasing efforts to identify children orphaned by COVID-19
  • ensuring suitable accommodation and sanitation for refugee, migrant, and internally displaced children.

The economic crisis linked to COVID-19 may prompt governments to strengthen guarantees of economic and social rights, and social protections for poor communities and vulnerable families.

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