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 labor, 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.
This report outlines key human rights risks to children related to the COVID-19 crisis, and steps that governments should take to protect children’s rights in the pandemic, mitigate its devastating effects, and benefit children after the crisis is over. The report includes sections on Violence at Home, Loss of Parents and Caregivers, Children Deprived of Liberty, and Refugee, Migrant, and Internally Displaced Children.