May 19th, 2020
NEW DELHI: Over 80 Nobel laureates, including Kailash Satyarthi, and world leaders have appealed to governments across the world to prioritise children during the lockdown and after that period. Poverty and hunger, child labour, child marriages, child slavery, child trafficking and children on the move are likely to increase during and after the Covid-19, a statement signed by 88 personalities said.
There is a need to strengthen the institutional responses to future catastrophes, and improve the existing child protection infrastructure.Cash transfers and ensuring food security for the marginalised, improving hygiene and sanitation, a robust healthcare system and promoting a free and equitable education system with free school meals are critical, the statement said.
“We, the laureates and leaders for children, demand that the most marginalised and vulnerable children are not forgotten by governments during this grave crisis and beyond. We must act now or risk losing an entire generation,” said Satyarthi, one of the signatories. Dalai Lama, and former state leaders from New Zealand, Eucador, Bulgaria, were among the other signatories.
With the Covid-19 exposing the pre-existing inequalities, the aftermath would have devastating impact on the most vulnerable, the signatories said.Beyond the public health emergency situation, the economic impact will push more children in to child labour, the statement said.
COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities in our world. The virus, restrictions placed on the majority of the world’s population, and the aftermath will have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable.
The pandemic’s public health emergency is set to exacerbate the exploitation of children. Trapped in homes to escape the virus, children are at greater risk of sexual abuse and domestic violence. As restrictions are lifted, children will be trafficked, forced out of school and into labour, bearing the burden of sustaining their families.
If, for once, our world gave the most marginalised children and their families their fair share – 20% of the COVID-19 response for the poorest 20% of humanity – the results would be transformative. One trillion dollars would fund all outstanding UN and charity COVID-19 appeals, cancel two years of all debt repayments from low-income countries, and fund two years of the global gap to meet the SDGs on health, water and sanitation, and education. More than ten million lives would be saved.
We call on leaders of the G20 to take additional action beyond their own borders for those who urgently need coordinated international aid. We also call on all G20 leaders to honour existing global health commitments.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Most Reverend Archbishop Desmond Tutu
HRH Prince Ali Al Hussein
Rigoberta Menchu Tum
Laureates and Leaders for Children is an initiative of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. The full statement, an accompanying video and signatories are here.
Source (s)– The Indian Express
Express News Service,