Dhaka :: To mark World Children’s Day, which has been celebrated this Friday, Educo urges governments to listen to children and take their opinions into account, especially now that children are experiencing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Measures taken by governments, like lockdowns and school closures etc., have changed the lives of children and adolescents overnight. We understand that these measures are necessary for avoiding the spread of the virus. However, it is similarly important to listen to the voices of children.

We have to consider their feeling and opinions before taking any decision; because they are the worst sufferers of this circumstances We must consider that children have the ability to observe many things that remain unnoticed by the adults’, explains the Country Director of Educo Bangladesh, Abdul Hamid. Educo also points out that the right to be heard is included in article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The NGO gathered the opinions of the children who took part in their projects in the 14 countries it works in, and they all feel that they have not been considered over the last few months. While Arif Hossain, a ten-year-old boy from Bangladesh says, “As I am very young, nobody cares for my opinion while making any decision within my family”. Similarly, fourteen-year-old Izamar, from Nicaragua, says “In my community all decisions are taken by adults”.

The organisation also warns once again about the worsening of the living conditions of children all over the world due to coronavirus, especially those in vulnerable situations. Educo warns that the estimates point to a significant increase in poverty, school dropouts and violence suffered by children. Equally, employment and economic insecurity associated with the pandemic is likely to lead to an increase in child labour, sexual exploitation of girls and adolescents, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage.

The NGO recalls the advances made over the last 30 years which have improved the lives and wellbeing of children at risk. For this reason, the organisation believes it is important to act as soon as possible to reverse this situation and that children should be involved in the decision-making, as no one knows how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives better than they do. –press release

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