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.
UNICEF predicts that an additional 22 million children in Southeast Asia and the Pacific could fall into poverty in 2020 because of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. It is up to all of us to ensure that the hard-won gains achieved for children in the areas of health, education and protection are not only defended, but built upon.