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Children, Health, Solidarity

The COVID-19 outbreak is having devastating consequences for children and their rights. Children may have loved ones who are sick, or unable to work, their country’s health system is overwhelmed. Children have had their education disrupted by school closures and many will be confused and frightened about the sudden changes they are seeing in their lives. Inside and outside Europe, many children face the prospect of poverty. The most deprived and marginalised children and their families are the most vulnerable in any community. They may be financially insecure, or have poor access to healthcare, support and protection. Strains on public services can also result in the breakdown of referrals between health and child protection systems, and the weakening of child protection services. Many will not know where their next meal will come from. Hardships related to the loss of livelihoods may also push children and families to take up negative coping mechanisms, which increase girls’ and boys’ exposure to family separation, child marriage, child labour, and sexual exploitation and abuse.

For children living in fragile places like conflict zones, refugee camps, and overcrowded communities, where people are already struggling to survive, COVID-19 could have a devastating impact. As with any time of crisis, women and girls are likely to be disproportionately affected.

If the international community, governments and donors do not ensure adequate measures to protect children’s rights to health, education and strengthen child protection systems, there is a real danger that the world will see a reversal of the gains made over the last 20 years and deeply affect the realisation of children’s rights.

Save the Children

Amnesty International

CIHRS Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

EuroMed Rights


International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

International Service for Human Rights

Plan International

 Terre des Hommes International Federation (TDHIF)

Quaker Council for European Affairs 

April 2020 Covid-19 analysis from QCEA

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World Vision