The United Nations (UN) is appealing to all governments worldwide to protect the rights and education of children, especially vulnerable ones, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres made the appeal as he noted an “alarming pattern” developing worldwide where the poorest and most vulnerable members of society feel the brunt of the pandemic and lockdowns the most.
“I am especially concerned about the well-being of the world’s children,” he said in a statement.
“Thankfully, children have so far been largely spared from the most severe symptoms of the disease. But their lives are being totally upended. I appeal to families everywhere, and leaders at all levels: Protect our children,” he said.
Classes worldwide have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic as countries rushed to contain the spread of the virus.
While there are schools that offer distance learning through online means, Guterres said this is not available for all with many poor children “severely disadvantaged.”
“Children in countries with slow and expensive Internet services are severely disadvantaged,” he said.
The UN urged governments to prioritize education for all children and to provide economic assistance for poor families.
“With the pandemic placing so many of the world’s children in jeopardy, I reiterate my urgent appeal: Let us protect our children and safeguard their well being,” he said.
“Finally, we must commit to building back better by using the recovery from COVID-19 to pursue a more sustainable and inclusive economy and society in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
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