NHRC urges action to protect victims of COVID-19

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has released an advisory suggesting urgent action to protect the victims of COVID-19 pandemic, including children.

“Urgent action is required taking into account the constitutional obligations, domestic laws, the UNCRC’s general principles and the SDGs to safeguard the lives and dignity of 39 per cent of India’s population which was impacted due to the pandemic,” the NHRC said.

According to the Commission, there are reports of increased violence against children, both physical and sexual, child marriage, and child trafficking. Cases of child abuse and safety have also increased manifold during the lockdown is evidenced by the increase in calls to helplines. Concerns regarding the health and safety status of children in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) including the specific risk of being infected with Corona as well as barriers to children’s access to justice as imposed by the lockdown were also reported.

“State action must balance out the discriminatory impact of COVID-19 on children such that increased vulnerabilities are addressed promptly,” NHRC reiterated.

NHRC has released advisories pertaining to the health of children, food and nutrition of
children, education of children, Child Care Institutions (CCIs), and Child Protection and Justice Systems.

NHRC constituted a Committee of Experts for consultations with all the stakeholders including subject experts and concerned Ministries of the Government of India in order to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the human rights of people, especially the marginalised or vulnerable sections of the society, and to suggest the responses in the form of an advisory, said an official statement.

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