Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during the COVID-19 pandemic
The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was underestimated for a long time in Germany – and in many other countries too. This meant that measures to contain the pandemic were initially only adopted with the short term in mind, were then gradually extended and are now adjusted regularly. The perspectives and the needs of children have occupied only a very small space in the overall discussions, despite the fact that their rights are directly affected by the various individual measures and by the relaxation of these measures.
Children’s rights are crucial in this crisis
On 25th June 2020 the National Coalition Germany issued a statement on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child during the COVID-19 pandemic. In situations of crisis, it becomes evident how indispensable children’s rights are, particularly at the present time – the principle of the child´s best interest as a primary concern must guide all decision-making where children are affected. Children must be listened to when measures are being introduced that will affect them, and their opinions must be taken into account in an appropriate way. During the coronavirus pandemic, many measures to curb the spread of infection and their subsequent relaxation have had a very direct effect on children. The anchoring of children’s rights in the constitution is now more important than ever, to ensure that all state measures explicitly take children and young people into consideration. The remit of human rights and the constitution is to guarantee at all times that society’s fundamental standards are being upheld. Particularly in exceptional situations, they provide a central point of orientation for all actions taken – with regard to children, this means the observance of all their rights to protection, development and participation.
The Covid-19 in its global dimension and impact on childrens´ rights
Global issues, like Covid-19, need a global response from a network of actors. As the German network of civil society organisations fighting for children´s rights, we are part of a global network.
Here are a few examples of civil society response to Covid-19:
The UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti has produced the Children and COVID-19 Research Library to highlight the available global scientific research and evidence on children and the coronavirus pandemic.
Plan International asks young people what they think the „new normal“ should look like. Everyone older than 10 can participate. Questions are available in English.
Child Rights Connect, the civil society organisation coordinating children´s rights advocacy at the United Nations, has compiled UN documents and activities from national partners regarding the Covid-19 outbreak.
Eurochild, the network of child rights organisations in Europe, has compiled child-friendly material on Covid-19 in several languages.
CRIN is producing a series of features exploring how the pandemic and the measures to prevent its spread impact the human rights of under-18s.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published guidance for States on how to deal with the Covid-19-pandemic.
The European Agency for Fundamental Rights FRA outlines some of the measures EU Member States adopted to safely reopen their societies and economies while continuing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It highlights the impact these measures may have on civil, political and socioeconomic rights.
Terre des Hommes International Federation warns of a dramatic increase in child labour due to the pandemic.
In its statement, the World Future Council calls for a strong and efficient multilateral system, global leadership, collective action and shared responsibilities in support of current and future generations.
This page is regularly updated. If you know interesting material or links, we are looking forward to receiving your email at info(at)netzwerk-kinderrechte.de. Thank you!