Leaving Covid19 and violence outside the door; today my thought goes to the most vulnerable of all in this crisis: children - SRSG Maalla M'jid
Just like violence, the Covid 19 doesn’t differentiate. It affects us all. Regardless of gender, wealth, age, race, beliefs, we are all exposed to the threat. We are all potential victims.
Today my thought goes to the most vulnerable of all in this crisis: children.
As a paediatrician, I have access to information. I understand it in a different way than most of the population. As a UN staff member, I’ve been working tirelessly to overcome this crisis. As an adult I can access information and understand-to the extent possible-what is going on. For most children things are not as easy. Many children are confused and afraid.
These are indeed difficult times. With the doors locked hoping that the Covid 19 doesn’t knock and enter without invitation, we witness the devastating effect that an epidemic disease can cause:
In times like these children become more vulnerable to violence. Families are under increased stress:
increased isolation, potential unemployment, lack of income, food and other necessities, and even becoming ill. Children’s routine is shattered - no schooling, no access to friends, leisure, sports , bombardment of scary news, unable to socialize, etc. Around the world children are being told or forced to stay home, to live in isolation often in stressful environments – quarantined in confined spaces; with the uncertainty of family employment, income, food availability.
For children in vulnerable situations, deprived of protective environment - refugees, migrants, undocumented, living in poverty, in humanitarian settings, in street situation, in institutions, or detained, things are even worse: living in dangerous crowded situations, decrease of protection, no access to health, less services, staff, or being force to live as if everything was normal, having to work or beg and overexposing themselves to becoming ill.
In times like these, the risk of reducing or even cutting budget dedicated to child and social protection by Governments worldwide increases exponentially, making more and more children vulnerable.
So it is up to us all, in every house, to promote safe and nurturing environments. To take this unique opportunity to being more supportive and caring than ever.
To take this unique opportunity to make each of us, especially children, stronger. One day at a time. This is not the time to panic. It is time to stay safe, to show solidarity, to become aware of the potential dangers faced by children. It is time to pay particular attention to children and mainly the most vulnerable.
Leaving the virus and violence outside the door. Leaving no child behind.
Najat Maalla M'jid