EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON RIGHT OF CHILDERN

INTRODUCTION

Children play a very vital role in our society. They are the future of our country. There are some rights to be provided to each and every children at global level. These rights are like education system, safety of children, marriages, health system etc. Today because of COVID-19 Pandemic, Most of the children have been affected. The impact of the crisis are being felt in all the areas of Children’s lives, from health, development and behaviour to education, economic insecurity & protection from violence and abuse. Children who contract COVID-19 appear to have less severe symptoms and lower mortality rates than other age groups. But in myriad other ways, the COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating effect on children, with potentially far-reaching and long-term negative impacts. More than 1.5 billion students are out of school, and widespread job and income loss and economic insecurity are likely to increase rates of child labour, sexual exploitation, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage. Stresses on families, particularly those living under quarantines, lockdowns and other restrictions on freedom of movement, may increase the incidence of violence in the home. As the global death toll from COVID-19 increases, large numbers of children will be orphaned and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
More than 1.5 billion children have been affected by School closure, Boys and Girls have been left more vulnerable to child labour, Child marriages and teenage pregnancy & disrupted vaccination programmes lead to big rise in infant mortality rate.
Each Children is affected by COVID-19 directly or indirectly. In order to save our Child from theses violence, Government at international level should take primitive steps which is based on each right to protect the Children for this bright future. These are as follow-

1) EDUCATION :-

More than 1.5 billion children in 188 countries were out if school due to COVID-19, representing over 91 percent of the world student population. Children affected by the school closures also miss the sense of stability and normalcy that school provide. School closure may also negatively affect children who already experience barriers in accessing education. These include children with disabilities, students in remote location, asylum seekers and refugees, and those whose families have lost income as a result of job cuts or other different situation. The rush to access online learning also highlights data privacy considerations for children. Children’s education data is far less protected than health data. Many countries have regulations that govern the appropriate uses and disclosures of personally identifiable health data, even during emergencies. But while children’s school data may be just as sensitive – revealing names, home addresses, behaviours, and other highly personal details that can harm children and families when misused – most countries don’t have data privacy laws that protect children. This means that governments will struggle to hold providers of internet education technologies – EdTech – accountable for how they handle children’s data. When the Pandemic ceases and governments are able to reopen school, special measures will be needed to ensure that children, particularly adolescent girls who are most at risk of child marriage and those at risk of child marriage come back to school.

a) Government should prioritize efforts to continue education for all children during and after closure of school and make it assessable to all, using all available technology in order to provide education to children. In case w\here resources are available in limited.
b) Government should provide funding to teachers in order to upgrade the system of education all over the world.
c) Government of world should immediately end internet shutdowns.
d) Government should perform due diligence to ensure any Ed-Tech that they select and promoted protection of Children’s privacy right.
e) Governments should track, using gender-disaggregated data, the numbers of children affected by school closures and similarly track the number and gender of children returning when schools reopen, and should develop strategies to prevent gender and other disparities in the number of children returning to school.
f) Governments should take all possible measures to provide the fastest and broadest possible internet service for all children to ensure their right to education. They should take steps to mitigate disproportionate hardships for poor and marginalized populations, including finding ways to provide discounted and free access to services and computers.
g) Governments should adopt mitigation strategies to address the impacts of school closures on children’s learning, for example by working with teachers, school officials, and teachers’ unions and associations to factor in plans to recover teaching or contact hours lost, adjusting school calendars and exam schedules, and ensuring fair compensation for teachers and school personnel who are working additional hours.
h) Governments should prepare for immediate steps to get children back in school once the crisis ends, including individual follow-up with children who don’t show up for classes; ensure access to free primary education, and make secondary education accessible and, we believe, free; provide vouchers or financial support to offset school-related expenses for children whose families suffered economic hardship and wouldn’t be able to return to school otherwise.
i) Governments and schools should include data privacy clauses in any contracts they sign with EdTech providers, in order to protect the data collected on children during this time from misuse.

2) VIOLENCE AT HOME :-

Even when countries are not in crisis Children are at greatest risk of violence in their own home. Exposure of violence especially at early age, can impair children’s brain development and is linked to lower educational achievement and higher rate of anxiety, depression, substance abuse and suicide. Children may also face neglect when parents are unable to take leave from work, change their work schedule or arrange alternative care for children who are at home due to this crisis. 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 violence between partners and by caregivers against children. School closures due to the virus may increase the number of cases of child abuse that go unreported, as teachers are often best positioned to identify children who may be experiencing violence in the home and seek appropriate intervention. In some countries, such as Germany, and the United States, child protection services may be operating at a reduced level or cutting back on home visits, so that children at risk are monitored even less frequently than before the pandemic. Children may also face neglect when parents are unable to take leave from work, change their work schedule, or arrange alternative care for children who are at home due to school closures. The Government should put some steps toward removal of this violence at home:-
a) Government of all countries should seek to expend services for at risk households including home visitation services by professional nurses and social workers to families where children are elevated risk of violence at home.
b) Government public welfare campaign about COVID-19 should include information on how people feel unsafe in their own home. c ) Government should increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children.
d) Government public awareness campaigns about COVID-19 should include information on how people who feel unsafe in their homes can seek help, including support for having an abuser excluded from the home or being placed in alternate housing.
e) Governments should ensure that domestic violence services are not interrupted by COVID-19, should expand those services where necessary to meet the level of need, and should ensure that services are available to everyone including children and adults who are under quarantine or are infected with COVID-19.
f) Governments should expand public education and awareness campaigns on domestic violence and child abuse, including prevention, ways to identify warning signs of potential violence at home, how to access services, and how a neighbour or friend can assist someone experiencing abuse. 
g) Governments should publicize hotlines and other services available to survivors of violence, including those living in areas under movement restrictions, under quarantine, or those infected with COVID-19.
h) Governments should increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children.

3) LOSS OF PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS : –

During this Pandemic, number of global death reach at 10 to 40 million. As death toll rise in different countries, children without parents or caregivers is also increasing day by day.
a) Government should implement family tracing system to identify extended family members who might care for children who have lost their parents and guardians to COVID-19.
b) Government should avoid institutionalizing children without caregivers, giving priority to family based care including extended family. Government should take urgent steps to provide psychosocial care, food and material assistance to children orphaned due to COVID-19.
c) Government should ensure care for children left alone without adequate care due to the hospitalisation or death of a parent or caregiver.
d) Governments should strengthen and support a network of trained foster carers/foster families to provide alternative care for separated and unaccompanied children, including a network of emergency carers who are ready to accept children on short notice for limited periods of time.
e) Governments should take urgent steps to provide psychosocial care, food and material assistance to children orphaned or left unaccompanied due to COVID-19.
f) Governments should ensure an adequate number of social workers to identify the specific needs of orphaned and unaccompanied children, provide assistance, and closely monitor foster and other alternative care placements for potential abuse or exploitation.
g) Governments should ensure care for children left alone without adequate care due to the hospitalization or death of a parent or caregiver.

4) POVERTY, CHILD LABOUR AND CHILD MARRIAGE : –

Children are more than twice a day as likely to live in poverty as adult. Globally about 1/3rd children live in households that are multidimensional poor means they lack necessities as basic as nutrition or clean water. Low income communities are more like to be exposed to the virus, have higher mortality rates, suffer economically and receive lower quality health care. The Pandemic and its accompanying economic crisis including massive global job losses will put poor children at even greater risk and greatly exacerbate existing inequalities. The global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis will likely to increase rates of child labour and child marriage.
a) Government of different countries should target economic assistance, including cash transfers, to the low income communities that will be hit first and hardest, to help poor and other vulnerable families to meet their basic needs without resorting to child labour or child marriage. b) Government should guarantee the right of every child to an adequate standard of living in accordance with international human rights law. c) Government should urgently expend food distribution programs for vulnerable families, including by distributing free lunches from school, even if they are not holding classes.
d) Government should suspend cut offs to utilities, most especially to water and wastewater services , for failure to pay and reconnect households previously disconnected in order to uphold the right to access top water.
e) Government should enforce child labour laws and laws against child marriages.
f) Government should increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children at risks of exploitation including child labour and child marriage.
g) Government should engage in public awareness campaigns about the harms associated with child marriage.
h) Governments should increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children at risk of exploitation, including child labour and child marriage. 

5) SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, INCLUDING ONLINE : –

Economic hardship, School closure and Loss of parental care as a result of COVID-19 increase children’s risk of sexual exploitation.. The COVID-19 crisis is also resulting in an increase in online child sexual exploitation. In 2019, 69 million online photos and videos of child sexual abuse were in countries. Government should take steps/orders which are:-
a) Government should provide training to health, education, and child services staff on COVID-19 related child protection risks, including on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
b) Government should conduct public education campaigns regarding the risks of online sexual exploitation of children and increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children at risk of exploitation.
c) Government should ensure that got lines or other mechanisms to report online and other sexual exploitation are available and publicized. d) Government should support public campaigns urging parents to discuss internet safety with children of all ages , review and approve games and apps before they are downloaded, set online privacy settings to the strictest level possible bad monitor children use of internet including child profile and what they post online.
e) Tech companies should adopt consistent, standardized approaches and investments in detecting, preventing and responding to child sexual abuse material and exploitation.
f) Government should ensure that adequate resources are directed towards enforcement mechanisms that hold perpetrators accountable.
6) CHILDERN DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY : –

Deprivation of liberty is almost never in a child’s best interests, under any circumstances. The risk posed by COVID-19 underline the importance of dramatically reducing the number of children in institution and detention facilities and transferring them to family based, non custodial setting. Many children in juvenile detention, for example, are not a risk to public safety, and may be detained for petty, nonviolent, or status offenses. Many children in orphanages or other residential institutions have a living parent and with sufficient support, could be cared for at home. A large body of research also finds that within the justice system, alternatives to detention for children are often cheaper and result in lower rates of recidivism. Steps should be taken by government of country are :
a) Government should take urgent steps to transfer children deprived of liberty, which may include children in orphanages, other residential institutions, and immigration-related detention, to family-based care, and look to reallocate resources from closed settings to families who may require support to care for their children.
b) Authorities should evaluate all child detainees in the justice system for possible release, giving priority to children under the age of 16; children detained pre-trial; those detained for low-level or nonviolent offenses; those held for probation violations or failure to appear in court; those with medical conditions that may make them at particular risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection, or that the institution would likely be unable to address appropriately given increased attention to COVID-19 cases; pregnant girls and those who are primary caregivers for their own or other children; and those nearing the end of their sentences. 
c) When deprivation of liberty is unavoidable, authorities should take urgent steps to prevent or limit the outbreak of COVID-19, to protect the physical and mental health of all detainees, and to treat the disease should any detainee acquire it. This includes screening and testing for COVID-19 according to the most recent recommendations of health authorities; providing adequate hygiene, sanitary conditions, medical services; and reducing density to enable “social distancing.”
7) HEALTH INCLUDING SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: –

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that children have access to basic health care for any condition, whether COVID-19-related or not. For example, children with HIV need to be able to access essential anti-retroviral drugs. Though children with COVID-19 generally seem to have less serious illness than other age groups, there is also a risk that children with underlying health conditions such as severe asthma or cystic fibrosis, or those whose immune systems are compromised, will require hospitalization and intensive care when contracting COVID-19. Children who rely on schools for their health care are particularly affected by COVID-19 school closures. In the United States, for example, over 6 million students rely on schools for primary health care, mental health care, and other services. Access to this health care is particularly important as students from poorer communities often have higher rates of asthma, substance use, poor nutrition, obesity, anxiety, and depression than other children. The COVID-19 pandemic could interfere with a range of sexual and reproductive health services, availability of contraceptive supplies, contraceptive counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, safe abortion care, and other services. Some US states have already used the COVID-19 pandemic to try to restrict access to abortion, claiming incorrectly that abortion care is a non-essential health service. Hospitals in Italy are increasingly considering abortion a “deferrable” healthcare service, and have stopped providing abortion care during the pandemic. Young adolescents, ages 10 to 14, have a higher risk of health complications and death from pregnancy than adults. The World Health Organization reports that complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls and young women ages 15 to 19. Disruptions to pre- and post-natal and birth care could increase the risk of maternal death, which is already high for young adolescents. Though risks specific to pregnant people exposed to COVID-19 are not yet clear, other corona viruses have been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes. The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention identified current or recent pregnancy as a factor that may increase the risk of serious COVID-19.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, adolescents and young people in many countries faced particular challenges accessing essential sexual and reproductive health information and services. Many young people do not receive comprehensive sexuality education in school and struggle to access reliable information about their sexual and reproductive health. Young people often encounter specific barriers in accessing contraception, abortion, or other health services because of harmful stigma around adolescent sexual activity and laws that require parental involvement for certain services. When children are confined to their homes, their ability to access information and services shrinks further.
Government of countries should take followings steps or orders to stop health related issue:-
a.) Governments should minimize disruptions in children’s access to essential and life-saving basic healthcare services for issues unrelated to COVID-19.
b.) Governments should create long-term plans to deliver immunizations in the aftermath of the pandemic and identify children who missed doses of vaccines due to disruptions in health services.
c.) Governments should ensure access to mental health and psychological support services for children and adolescents, during the pandemic and afterward.
d.) Governments should closely monitor and work to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for adolescents and young people who already face unique barriers to care.
e.) Government education and health ministries should ensure comprehensive sexuality education is included in online and distance learning measures implemented during school closures.
f.) Governments should create new resources online to provide child-friendly sexual and reproductive health information, including about how to access services during the COVID-19 crisis.
g.) Governments should continue, and expand as needed to meet demand, support for hotlines assisting people with questions about pregnancy, abortion, and sexual and reproductive health, and ensure that these services assist and reach out to children.
h.) Governments should ensure safe abortion is regarded as essential health care and accessible even when emergency measures mandate delaying some forms of health care.
i.) Governments should ensure pregnant adolescents can have a trusted companion present during childbirth, and any restrictions required by public health concerns are implemented in the least restrictive way and to minimize the rights impact; include the adolescent’s participation to develop alternatives that ensure the safety and well-being of all patients.
j.) Over the long term, governments should remove requirements for parental involvement in sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, as these requirements can be barriers to care.
k.) Governments should facilitate full access to safe medical abortion at home, including lifting any regulatory barriers to the teleconsultations and access to medications needed for medical abortion at home.
8) REFUGEE, MIGRANT AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED CHILDERN:-

Tens of millions of children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced, including over 15.7 million refugees, 20 million internally displaced people, and 2.1 million asylum seekers. Many are confined in overcrowded camps, informal reception centers, or squatter settlements, with a lack of clean water, sanitation, and medical services, where infectious diseases easily spread. Under such conditions, basic COVID-19 prevention measures such as frequent handwashing and “social distancing” are nearly impossible. Due to limited health care, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and internally displaced people who have serious chronic health conditions are less likely to receive appropriate treatment and advice, making them even more vulnerable to COVID-19. Children who lose their parents or guardians to the virus will be particularly vulnerable to abuses including human trafficking, as their displacement will mean that they are less likely to benefit from access to traditional forms of alternative care, such as being taken in by extended family members. Such newly unaccompanied children may also be younger than the unaccompanied children for whom host governments and humanitarian organizations are more accustomed to identifying and finding solutions for. n late March, the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. More than 900,000 Rohingya refugees – over half of whom are children – reside in Cox’s Bazar, where the population density of refugee camps exceeds that of any city in the world. The government of Bangladesh, which has largely closed off the camps, has restricted internet access and education to refugees, who are also banned from buying mobile-phone SIM cards. Without access to information or education, refugees at risk of contagion, including children, have been left uninformed about the corona virus and ways to seek health care.
Government of countries should take followings steps or orders to stop health related issue:-
a) Governments with the assistance of humanitarian agencies should increase efforts to identify children orphaned by the virus, and identify non-institutional alternative care options.
b) Governments should, wherever feasible, move people out of overcrowded, unhygienic refugee camps and into other accommodation, taking necessary precautions for safe transport. Suitable shelters for unaccompanied children should be established immediately.
c) Governments, with international support, should guarantee internally displaced persons, refugees, and migrants regardless of their status access to health care, and provide adequate sanitary and hygiene products and ensure continuous running water in camps so that residents can follow guidelines regarding protection from COVID-19. 
d) Governments should lift restrictions on internet and education access, and run or facilitate public health campaigns by humanitarian agencies to provide accurate, accessible, and timely information to all refugees and migrants, including in different languages, about preventing COVID-19 and what to do and how to get help if they experience symptoms. 

CONCLUSION

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted grave weaknesses in many countries’ protections for children, including inadequate healthcare and social protection systems, overcrowded detention facilities, and the lack of emergency action plans for large-scale school shutdowns. A rights-respecting response to the COVID-19 crisis can not only mitigate the worst harms of the pandemic, but also benefit children over the long term.

For example, expanding internet access for schoolchildren will not only enhance children’s access to education, but also their access to information, and their ability to organize and express themselves. Widespread school shutdowns may boost public opinion regarding the importance of education, leading to greater allocations of resources for schools and teachers, and stronger measures to ensure that the most marginalized children can access their right to schooling. Transferring children out of institutions and detention facilities to limit the transmission of the virus can also help countries transition to family-based, non-custodial settings for children, which are proven to be healthier and more beneficial for children’s development.

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 that can, over the long term, improve food security, and reduce rates of child poverty, child labor and child marriage. The risks posed by the COVID-19 crisis to children are enormous. Governments have a responsibility not only to act urgently to protect children during the pandemic, but to consider how their decisions now can best uphold children’s rights long after the pandemic ends.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at secondinnings.hr@gmail.com

In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.