IN LINE with efforts to stop the transmission of Covid-19, Unicef continues to support the Philippine government in encouraging children, parents, and caregivers to ensure the protection of the rights of children against violence, neglect, and abuse during this challenging situation.
While efforts to contain the virus understandably requires restrictive measures, Unicef emphasizes that these measures should always be in the best interest of the child; should do no further harm; and always consider the preservation of the child’s welfare and dignity.
“In times of emergency, children are already confused and distressed from the fear and anxiety brought by the uncertainty of the spread of disease. We, at Unicef, want to ensure that there is a protective and caring environment for children at all times. We encourage the government to apply child-friendly protocols in the implementation of community quarantine and ensure that all measures taken to protect children respond to their best interest,” said Patrizia Benvenuti, chief of Child Protection of Unicef Philippines.
Unicef supports the Philippine Government in fighting Covid-19 through essential supplies, and support for logistics and transportation and the development of communication materials, as well as ensuring that the rights of children and their families are protected.
Unicef and its partners urge government officials to take a number of initiatives. Train health, education and child services staff on Covid-19-related child protection risks, including the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse and how to safely report concerns.
Ensure that children will not be arrested for instances of disobedience of the enhanced community quarantine measures and curfew and that the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act is respected.
Support parents and caregivers in reassuring children by using child-friendly information to explain the situation and address their fears and feelings during this stressful time.
Train first responders to manage disclosure of gender-based violence (Gender Based Violence Pocket Guide), and work with healthcare services to support GBV survivors.
Increase information sharing on referral and other support services available for children. Engage children, particularly adolescents, in assessing how Covid-19 affects them to inform programming and advocacy.
Lastly, put in place concrete measures to prevent child-family separation, and ensure support for children left alone without adequate care due to the hospitalization or death of a parent or caregiver; and ensure the protection of all children is given the utmost consideration in disease control measures. (PR)