COVID-19: Committee on the Rights of the Child issues statement and recommendations

Date: 1st May 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare, Civil Rights and Freedoms, Education, Leisure and Cultural Activities, Family Environment and Alternative Care, General measures of implementation, General principles

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The Committee has urged countries to respect children’s rights when responding to the pandemic, noting that lockdown measures can have grave physical, emotional and psychological effects on children.

The Committee issued 11 recommendations, calling on countries’ governments to:

  1. Consider the health, social, educational, economic and recreational impacts of the pandemic on the rights of the child, and ensure any restrictions on rights are necessary, proportionate and kept to an absolute minimum.
  2. Explore alternative solutions to enable children to enjoy their rights to rest, leisure, recreation and cultural and artistic activities, whilst respecting social distancing protocols and hygiene standards.
  3. Ensure that online learning does not exacerbate existing inequalities or replace student-teacher interaction.
  4. Ensure children have access to nutritious food, especially those who are eligible for free school meals.
  5. Maintain the provision of basic services for children including healthcare, mental health support, water, sanitation and birth registration.
  6. Ensure child protection services remain functioning and available, including home visits and professional mental health services. Governments should strengthen phone and online reporting and referral systems as well as awareness activities.
  7. Protect vulnerable children without discrimination- including children living in poverty, children with disabilities, children with underlying health conditions, children in detention, asylum-seeking and refugee children. 
  8. Release children in detention whenever possible, and provide children who cannot be released with the means to maintain regular contact with their families.
  9. Prevent the arrest or detention of children for violating State guidance and directives relating to COVID-19
  10. Disseminate accessible, child-friendly and accurate information about COVID-19 which is available in a range of formats.
  11. Ensure children's views are heard and taken into account in decision-making processes on the pandemic. 

Together is collating issues and reports from across our membership, mapping these against the Committee's 11 recommendations to form a picture of what's happening for children in Scotland. If you have information to submit, please send this to naomi@togetherscotland.org.uk. 

Together is committed to working with our partners, the Children and Young People's Commissioner and Scottish Government, to ensure that the Committee's 11 recommendations are taken forward and become a reality for children. 

On 5th May, Scottish Government produced a document setting out its actions in relation to each of the Committee's 11 recommendations.

On 19th May, Scottish Government produced an update to the previous report, setting out progress against each of the Committee's 11 recommendations.

Together is monitoring the Scottish Government reports on an ongoing basis and has recently published its first response.