Children risk ‘generational catastrophe’ from Covid-19: Rights group
THE HAGUE The coronavirus pandemic has severely affected children's rights worldwide, with young people risking a "generational catastrophe" if governments do not act, a rights group said in an annual survey yesterday.
Millions of children have missed out on education because of Covid-19 restrictions, while there will be a long-term impact in terms of their physical and mental health, Dutch non-governmental organisation KidsRights said as it launched its annual ranking.
The survey ranks Iceland, Switzerland and Finland as best for children's rights and Chad, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone as the worst, out of a total of 182 countries.
Founder and chairman of KidsRights Marc Dullaert said that the effects of the pandemic on children had "unfortunately exceeded our predictions at the outset last year".
"Apart from patients of the coronavirus, children have been hardest hit, not directly by the virus itself, but fundamentally failed through the deferred actions of governments around the world," he said.
"Educational recovery is the key to avoiding generational catastrophe," he added.
The group said schools for more than 168 million children have been closed for almost a full year, with one in three children worldwide unable to access remote learning while their schools were shut.
An additional 142 million children fell into material poverty as the global economy was hit, while 370 million children missed out on school meals.
KidsRights paid tribute to Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford for his campaign to extend free school meals.
It also hailed Bangladesh for taking over a national TV channel for home schooling and praised Belgium and Sweden for trying to keep schools open.
Meanwhile, 80 million children under the age of one could miss out on routine vaccination for other diseases because of disruption to healthcare systems, it said.
The report said that there was also an "astonishing increase" in domestic violence during lockdowns, with children often the victims. - AFP