In the space of just a few months, COVID-19 has unleashed itself with alarming speed, leaving no continent or country untouched.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of children and their families as the disease spread and the movement control order (MCO) to curb it force schools and businesses to shut. COVID-19 is not just a test of health systems, it attacks the way children access education, the way their families earn an income, and how safe they feel in their homes and communities.
In East Asia and the Pacific, home to 2.2 billion people, COVID-19 has further pummelled families already struggling to put food on the table and educate their children. It has turned upside down the lives of those who have lost good jobs and income security. It has piled new layers of hardship on a region highly prone to natural disasters and buffeted by climate change. It has also normalized rights violations.
COVID-19 is as much a human rights crisis as it is a health and economic one.
While children are not the face of the pandemic, they are among the hardest hit.
From the very start, UNICEF and its partners have been responding in full force – guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Our vision is ambitious. Not only to provide immediate support and protection to those who need it the most in these coronavirus times, but to encourage, in lockstep with governments and many other partners, new thinking and new strategies to safeguard progress and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in a post COVID-19 world.
UNICEF has responded quickly to the pandemic, even before the MCO began.