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  • Bob Oudmayer

The Dangers Covid-19 Has Caused for Children's Rights

Since the outbreak of coronavirus earlier this year, its impact on young children has become dangerously worrying. Especially for those in low-income and vulnerable countries, the risk of repercussions has risen dramatically.

Prior to the crisis, there were an estimated 75 million children desperately in need of education. Already at risk, the educational restrictions and limited possibilities of remote education have further hindered their susceptibilities. The setback has left more and more children vulnerable to extreme poverty, child labour and social safety.

Amidst many charitable efforts to support children in need of desperate education, the situation has significantly worsened since the Covid-19 crisis. Families remain subject to discrimination and inequality while their educational rights are being violated.

While children have not been significantly affected by the health effects of coronavirus, many are suffering from emotional and psychological abuse. In the United States, juvenile detentions, foster homes and youth facilities have seen a significant rise in coronavirus outbreaks. In Michigan, children are being held in isolation for their "safety" but are often subject to uncleaned cells and inhumane conditions, Children's Rights reports. They are allowed no visitors and their education has been put on hold. However, most staff members and correctional officers have tested positive for coronavirus, spreading the virus throughout Michigan's youth institutions. On the contrary, children have been disguising their sickness trying to avoid isolation and further abuse.

In an interview with USA Today Sandy Santana, the organization's executive director shared his thoughts on the issue:

"We are really worried that an already-strained system is going to buckle under the weight of the coronavirus, this may drive even more children into the system."

On April 30, Cornelius Frederick a mental health patient at Sequel Youth and Family Services’ Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, was punished and restrained after throwing a sandwich. Moments later, Cornelius passed out and was transferred to a local hospital, where he tested positive for coronavirus. 30 hours later, he passed away.

Since the crisis, a large amount of at-risk youths have not been able to receive their medical treatments or basic human rights in correctional institutions. Limited support has resulted in a rise in child abuse cases, psychological abuse cases and in Cornelius' case even death.

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation is one organization of many, fighting for human rights and social justice during the crisis.

Last week, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights urgently worked to bail out individuals in correctional institutions in Michigan. All 16 people released were held simply because they couldn't afford to pay bail.

As the foundation stated: Michigan has one of the highest incarceration rates in the USA with more than 64,000 people locked up across its facilities. Though many of these people are presumed innocent and are needlessly languishing behind bars, local officials have been slow to release them—increasing undue exposure to the virus among those incarcerated, the jail staff, and the wider community.

About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Switzerland - Youth Ambassador Program

Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy's vision of a more just and peaceful world, our organisation strives to contribute to a society in which every human being knows, respects, and protects human rights through responsible action.

Our vision for this project is to create a platform for young people all over the country to exchange our thoughts, raise awareness and facilitate further education about the protection of human rights. We strongly believe in the fact that no one is too small to make a difference and we want to encourage young people to think outside of the box and stand up for the things that matter. By sharing this message and by connecting the swiss youth with human rights activists, we want to inspire the next generation to be more kind, respectful, compassionate and courageous.

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