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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the rights of the child in Japan

AUTHOR(S)
Arisa Yamaguchi; Mariko Hosozawa; Ayaka Hasegawa (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: Pediatrics International

Few studies have used direct reports by children to assess how the rights documented in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have been affected during the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Data were obtained from the CORONA-CODOMO Survey, a web-based survey conducted from April to May 2020 in Japan, targeting children aged 7–17 and parents/guardians of children aged 0–17. This study focused on self-reports from children, including two open-ended questions asking their needs and opinions. The results were analyzed according to the five categories of rights defined by the CRC: education, health, safety, play, and participation.

Education for children's rights in Ireland before, during and after the pandemic

AUTHOR(S)
Benjamin Mallon; Gabriela Martinez-Sainz

Published: June 2021   Journal: Irish Educational Studies
This paper analyses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the ‘education rights’ of children in the Irish context, with a particular focus on children's/human rights education (C/HRE). C/HRE can support children and young people to understand and explore the issues which limit people's lives and consider actions to uphold their own rights and the rights of others. The breadth and depth of the provision of HRE can be considered across ‘education about rights’ (including knowledge and understanding of human rights values, norms and frameworks), ‘education through rights’ (rights respecting educational approaches) and ‘education for rights’ (empowerment to realising and upholding rights) (UN 2011). The paper situates this framework against three additional dimensions. Firstly, it considers the children's rights issues within a historical national context. Secondly, it explores the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the education rights of children in Ireland. Finally, with a future orientation, the paper considers how C/HRE can strengthen education, meeting the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the legacies of longstanding children's rights issues, and future human rights challenges.
Coming out to play: privacy, data protection, children's health, and COVID-19 research

AUTHOR(S)
Michael J. S. Beauvais; Bartha Maria Knoppers

Published: April 2021   Journal: Frontiers in Genetics
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for new ways of thinking about data protection. This is especially so in the case of health research with children. The responsible use of children’s data plays a key role in promoting children’s well-being and securing their right to health and to privacy. In this article, we contend that a contextual approach that appropriately balances children’s legal and moral rights and interests is needed when thinking about data protection issues with children.
Sub-Saharan Africa: growing up in crisis in a world of opportunities: the lasting impact of Covid-19 on children
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: April 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the world’s population. Although it has been established that children are at lower risk of falling seriously ill with COVID-19, the pandemic has had, and continues to have, far-reaching effects on them. The pandemic poses a health crisis that has become a child rights’ crisis. It is heightening the impact of conflict and climate change on children. In sub-Saharan Africa, COVID-19 is exacerbating not only existing threats to the future that 550 million children face, but also measures put in place to control and contain the disease. While the arrival of the first vaccines brings hope to put an end to the pandemic, it will take time before these vaccines can reach everyone who needs them. This report sheds light on the various ways children in sub-Saharan Africa have been affected by the ongoing pandemic and how UNICEF and partners have been supporting them. The report also is a call to action to governments and the international community to take concerted action to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated control measures, and build forward a better world fit for children.

Our Europe, our rights, our future: children and young people's contribution to the new EU strategy on the rights of the child and the child guarantee
Institution: Save the Children, Eurochild, *UNICEF
Published: March 2021

The European Union (EU) is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of children. In the era of Covid-19 pandemic, it is undertaking two major pieces of work to contribute to making this commitment a reality: a strategy on the rights of the child 2021-2024 and a child guarantee to ensure every child in Europe at risk of poverty has access to essential services. To find out what children are experiencing and what they say needs to change, the EU approached five child rights organizations – Child Fund Alliance, Eurochild, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision – to consult with children on their lives, aspirations and concerns for the future. This report presents the findings of that consultation with over 10,000 children aged 11–17 across Europe and beyond.

COVID-19 and migration for work in South Asia: private sector responsibilities

AUTHOR(S)
Bernadette Gutmann; Amanda Bissex; Samaa Kazerouni,

Institution: *UNICEF
Published: February 2021
The impacts of COVID-19 in South Asia have heightened and further exposed the vulnerability of migrant workers. These workers and their families are frequently overlooked in the pandemic response – and children are too often ignored in the discourse on migrant workers. Businesses and governments are responsible for protecting all workers from human rights abuses. When this is not done, previous achievements and future development are put in peril.
Thirty years after the UNCRC: children and young people’s participation continues to struggle in a COVID-19 world

AUTHOR(S)
Patricio Cuevas-Parra

Published: January 2021   Journal: Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to more than 200 countries and territories, despite governments’ efforts to ‘flatten the curve’. The measures to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak have been perceived as retrogressive for children and young people’s rights to participation. A common denominator across countries and regions is the reduced spaces for children and young people to influence decision-making processes and policy responses associated with COVID-19. This article critically examines the meanings and implications of children and young people’s participation rights in the time of COVID-19. In particular, it explores how lockdowns and other physical distancing measures have a negative impact on social interactions, leaving behind hard-to-reach children and young people and undermining some children and young people’s rights to participate on the premise that their protection is more relevant in crisis situations. This article discusses children and young people’s perspectives on how their opportunities to be listened to during the pandemic have been restricted. The article considers children and young people’s ability to communicate online, considering how those without access to the Internet – practically half the world – are left out, and, in the end, demonstrating that this pandemic is producing and exacerbating existing inequalities.
Children's right to be heard: we're talking; are you listening?
Institution: Save the Children, Child Fund Alliance, Plan International
Published: January 2021
Nearly a year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, children worldwide continue to grapple with unprecedented hardships. However, the virus did not destroy children’s resolve to find and use their voices as forces for change. This brief explores factors that inhibit children’s meaningful participation and outlines key takeaways from children on how their participation can lead to outcomes that are more meaningful and impactful.
The impact of COVID-19 on children with additional support needs and disabilities in Scotland

AUTHOR(S)
Fiona Couper-Kenney; Sheila Riddell

Published: January 2021   Journal: European Journal of Special Needs Education
Recently, as a result of international treaties and domestic legislation, children’s rights have moved to centre stage. In Scotland, under the terms of the Education (Scotland) Act 2016, those with additional support needs and disabilities (ASND) enjoy enhanced and legally enforceable rights, described by the Scottish Government as the most progressive children’s rights regime in Europe. This paper assesses the extent to which children’s rights have been prioritised during the COVID-19 crisis. Evidence is drawn from a qualitative study of the experiences of 16 families including a child with ASND during June and July 2020.
Supporting children and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond: a rights-centered approach

AUTHOR(S)
Shazeen Suleman; Yasmine Ratnani; Katrina Stockley (et al.)

Published: October 2020   Journal: Paediatrics & Child Health
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis, affecting millions globally and in Canada. While efforts to limit the spread of the infection and ‘flatten the curve’ may buffer children and youth from acute illness, these public health measures may worsen existing inequities for those living on the margins of society. This commentary highlights current and potential long-term impacts of COVID-19 on children and youth centering on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), with special attention to the accumulated toxic stress for those in difficult social circumstances. By taking responsive action, providers can promote optimal child and youth health and well-being, now and in the future, through adopting social history screening, flexible care models, a child/youth-centered approach to “essential” services, and continual advocacy for the rights of children and youth.
The hidden impact of COVID-19 on child rights

AUTHOR(S)
Nicole Dulieu; Melissa Burgess; Chiara Orlassino (et al.)

Institution: Save the Children
Published: September 2020
This report is one in a series presenting findings from the Global COVID-19 Research Study. The results presented in this report focus on implications for child rights, drawing on data from our representative sample of 17,565 parents/caregivers and 8,069 children in our programme participants group. Comparisons with our general public sample are made in some places. The research presents differences in impact and needs of children by region, age, gender, disability, minority group, indicators of poverty and more.
Ethics of COVID-19-related school closures

AUTHOR(S)
Michael Silverman; Robert Sibbald; Saverio Stranges

Published: August 2020   Journal: Canadian Journal of Public Health
COVID-19 mitigation strategies have led to widespread school closures around the world. Initially, these were undertaken based on data from influenza outbreaks in which children were highly susceptible and important in community-wide transmission. An argument was made that school closures were necessary to prevent harm to vulnerable adults, especially the elderly. Although data are still accumulating, the recently described complication, pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, is extremely rare and children remain remarkably unaffected by COVID-19. We also do not have evidence that children are epidemiologically important in community-wide viral spread. Previous studies have shown long-term educational, social, and medical harms from school exclusion, with very young children and those from marginalized groups such as immigrants and racialized minorities most affected. The policy and ethical implications of ongoing mandatory school closures, in order to protect others, need urgent reassessment in light of the very limited data of public health benefit.
Ensuring access to justice in the context of COVID-19
Addressing COVID-19 is foremost a public health concern. However, the impact of the crisis as well as the legal and policy responses developed by states to counter the spread of COVID-19 have much wider ramifications that affect a broad range of human rights, including the ability of people to access justice in a timely, fair, and effective manner. The crisis also presents specific justice ‘needs’, such as addressing the rise in gender based violence and making additional institutional reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the justice chain in a radically shifted social context. A key concern is that the economic fallout of the crisis will put many groups in society further behind, including children, women, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, displaced populations, stateless people, migrants, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, day labourers, and people living at or below the poverty line.
The social and economic impact of Covid-19 in the Asia-Pacific region
Institution: UNDP - United Nations Development Programme
Published: April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis are posing huge challenges, raising many unknowns and imposing wrenching trade-offs. Both crises are global, but their impacts are deeply local. The policy response to both crises needs to be rapid, even if it is rough around the edges. But countries cannot pull this off on their own—the global crises require global solidarity and coordination.
Digital Contact Tracing and Surveillance During COVID-19. General and child-specific ethical issues

AUTHOR(S)
Gabrielle Berman; Karen Carter; Manuel Garcia Herranz; Vedran Sekara

Balancing the need to collect data to support good decision-making versus the need to protect children from harm created through the collection of the data has never been more challenging than in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The response to the pandemic has seen an unprecedented rapid scaling up of technologies to support digital contact tracing and surveillance. As the pandemic progresses, we are also likely to see the emergence of more applications that link datasets as we seek to better understand the secondary impacts of the pandemic on children and their families.

This working paper explores the implications for privacy as the linking of datasets increases the likelihood that children will be identifiable and consequently, the opportunities for (sensitive) data profiling. It also frequently involves making data available to a broader set of users or data managers.

While it is recognized that reuse of unidentifiable data could potentially serve future public health responses and research, the nature of, access to and use of the data now and in future necessitate accountability, transparency and clear governance processes. It requires that these be in place from the outset. These are needed to ensure that data privacy is protected to the greatest degree possible and that the limitations to the use of these data are clearly articulated.

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.