Children’s “Best Interest” Locked up – On the Situation of Children’s Rights during the COVID-19 Responses
The constitution of the WHO as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child both emphasise the unique position of children, the significance of healthy development and the obligation of public and private actors to always consider the best interest of the child. There is – at least in the case of Germany – no evidence that this obligation has been fulfilled in due manner during the COVID-19 reactions. On the other hand, there is clear evidence from different parts of the world that the closure of schools and all places of social encounter has deeply harmed the social, emotional and even intellectual development of many children. The children’s rights therefore have not been safeguarded during the corona-reaction-crisis. The article argues that this disregard of the position of children has its roots in public health’s utilitarian perspective on the health of peoples instead of individuals. In order to safeguard the rights of children in public health operations, the procedures already foreseen by the UN Convention and its implementing regulations to take into account the best interest of the child must be truly implemented in the future.
Keywords: COVID-19 reactions, lockdowns, children’s rights, public health operations, advocacy.
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