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新华社头条:在疫情、冲突和贫困的背景下,世界面临着为儿童权利而进行的艰苦斗争

2020-11-20 14:06

——除了有大量儿童感染甚至死亡外,COVID-19还使更多儿童陷入贫困和教育不良,以及在大流行之前就已经存在的其他危机。


——事实上,正如联合国儿童基金会10月份的报告所指出的,甚至在大流行病袭击全球之前,全世界约有45%的儿童严重缺乏至少一项关键需求,包括教育、医疗保健、住房、营养、卫生设施和水。


——本周五,全球将迎来今年的世界儿童节。人们普遍认为,国际社会应该立即携起手来,从各种儿童权利危机中拯救儿童,为每个儿童建设更美好的未来。

 

北京,11月19日(新华社)——11岁的玛格利特·姆万扎最近非常开心,因为她终于可以回到学校,不仅可以学到知识,还可以吃一顿热乎的饭,这可能是一天中唯一的一顿饭了。


“对于穷人来说,缺乏受教育的机会并不是COVID-19大流行的唯一令人担忧的后果。学校的关闭意味着孩子们失去了营养,”这位赞比亚女孩的母亲Judith Mwanza说。


玛格丽特是一个全世界的众多儿童经历更多的困难和痛苦在肆虐的大流行,除了大量的感染者,甚至被病毒杀死,COVID-19也让更多的孩子陷入贫困和教育,以及其他已经存在的危机,在大流行。


本周五,全球将迎来今年的世界儿童节。人们普遍认为,国际社会应该立即携起手来,将儿童从各种儿童权利危机中拯救出来,为每个儿童建设一个更美好的未来。

 

受害者大流行


联合国儿童基金会(UNICEF)在10月份的一份报告中说:“这是一场普遍的危机,对一些儿童来说,影响将是终生的。”


这种影响首先表现在感染这种致命病毒的儿童人数上。例如,在学校重新开学后,一些非洲国家的学生感染人数急剧上升。


在美国这样的发达国家,情况也好不到哪里去。根据美国儿科学会(AAP)和儿童医院协会周一发布的一份报告,截至11月12日,近104万美国儿童感染了这种疾病,占全国病例总数的11.5%。


报告说,在过去一周,已经报告了近11.2万名儿童病例,这是自大流行开始以来的最高周增幅。


美国儿科学会主席Sally Goza在一份声明中说:“作为一名从医超过30年的儿科医生,我发现这个数字令人震惊和悲惨。”


除了大流行引发的危险之外,儿童的生活在其他方面也发生了深刻的变化。


联合国儿童基金会在其10月份的报告中说,由于大流行病,大约有1.5亿儿童生活在多层面的贫困之中,并补充说,在大流行病后的时代,无法获得教育或医疗服务的儿童比例将从47%上升到56%。


2020年6月19日,乌干达首都坎帕拉,为了预防COVID-19的传播,全国学校都关闭了,孩子们在幼儿园老师朱丽叶·纳曼达的家里上临时班。

 

据全球慈善机构救助儿童会(Save the Children) 5月份的一份报告,近四分之一生活在COVID-19封锁、社会限制和学校关闭之下的儿童正在应对焦虑感,许多儿童面临持久的心理困扰的风险。


对生活在最贫困社区的儿童的身心影响可能最为严重。联合国儿童基金会11月发布的一份新报告发现,COVID-19导致拉丁美洲和加勒比地区1.37亿多儿童(占学生总数的97%)的教育暂停。世界银行几个月前发布的一份研究报告警告说,在流感大流行期间,伊拉克18岁以下儿童的贫困率将增加15.8%。


布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)最近报告称,尽管发达国家有90%的儿童已经适应了远程学习平台,但非洲只有不到25%的儿童能够使用此类平台。


非政府组织乌干达青年发展联系(Uganda Youth Development Link)的执行主任罗杰斯·卡西雷(Rogers Kasirye)说,该组织所资助的大约1500名儿童中,有60%的人报告说,他们在国家封锁期间曾以提供食物的名义遭受性剥削。


“在收容中心,我们每天都会接到一些年轻人的求救电话,他们的生活已经变得无法忍受。那里有很多人挨饿,还有一些儿童遭受暴力,”Kasirye说。

 

慢性危机

不幸的是,COVID-19大流行并不是威胁儿童福利的唯一问题。事实上,正如联合国儿童基金会10月份的报告所指出的那样,甚至在大流行病袭击全球之前,全世界约有45%的儿童严重缺乏至少一项关键需求,包括教育、医疗保健、住房、营养、卫生设施和水。


2019年,近1400万儿童没有接种任何疫苗。此外,近600万儿童获得了一些疫苗,但不是所有的疫苗,以充分保护他们免受许多威胁生命的疾病。


联合国儿童基金会、克林顿健康倡议组织、拯救儿童组织和默多克儿童研究所11月12日发表的联合分析报告显示,重症肺炎导致124个中低收入国家约420万名5岁以下儿童每年缺氧。


此外,联合国儿童基金会(UNICEF)和世界银行(World Bank)在10月份进行的另一项分析指出,全球每六名儿童中就有一名,即3.56亿儿童在艾滋病流行前生活在极端贫困之中。

 

根据联合国,多年的战争在也门200万5岁以下儿童营养不良,并迫使200万离开学校,离开许多无法回到他们的学校超过五年,和那些有幸回去研究在帐篷里,straw-roof小屋甚至在树下。这些儿童还面临教师、教育设备和其他必要基础设施短缺的问题。


“我们的问题是,由于战争期间教育停止,文盲正在蔓延……现在有10岁以上的孩子不识字,”也门北部一所学校的校长Abdullah Mutanbek告诉新华社。


孩子们也遭受欺凌和更暴力的行为。英国国家统计局周一发布的一项调查显示,在截至2020年3月的一年中,英格兰和威尔士10岁至15岁的孩子中约有五分之一(相当于76.4万名)经历过至少一种网络欺凌行为。


据日本教育、文化、体育和科技省最近发布的一项调查显示,2019年,日本小学、初中、高中以及特殊支持学校的校园恶霸人数达到61万人的历史新高。

 

为团结哭泣


11月20日,孩子们将重新想象一个更美好的世界。你会怎么做?”联合国儿童基金会在其网站上问道。


的确,随着2020年对儿童现状的关注越来越多,人们普遍认为,全世界应该团结起来,采取更多措施保护儿童。


许多国家、组织和企业已经做出承诺并采取了行动。作为负责任大国,中国通过非洲第一夫人组织向53个非洲国家的妇女儿童捐赠了抗新冠肺炎医疗用品。

 

中国还向世界上最不发达国家派遣医生,为出现新冠肺炎严重症状、患有先天性畸形和营养不良的儿童进行救治,并为其他国家的减贫工作提供资金援助和专业技术支持。


在莫斯科12日金砖四国峰会宣言周二公布,五个主要新兴经济体——巴西、俄罗斯、印度、中国和南非——表示担忧增加挑战为了保护青少年免受网络性剥削和其他内容有害他们的健康和发展,并表示他们期待加强合作发展计划旨在确保孩子们在互联网上的安全。


今年4月,联合国儿童基金会(UNICEF)和微软(Microsoft)宣布扩大“学习护照”(Learning Passport)项目。“学习护照”是一个全球学习平台,旨在帮助儿童和青年在国内继续学习。科索沃、东帝汶和乌克兰率先通过该平台推出了在线课程。


一个月后,联合国儿童基金会宣布与移动运营商Airtel Africa达成另一项合作协议,帮助向撒哈拉以南非洲13个国家约1.33亿学龄儿童提供在线学习的机会,这些儿童在大流行期间受到学校关闭的影响。


为纪念今年的世界儿童节,印度各地的纪念碑和标志性建筑将用蓝色点亮,以声援儿童权利和防止COVID-19对儿童生命的影响。

 

还有很多事情可以做。根据联合国儿童基金会,世界各国政府需要采用六点计划,以确保所有的孩子学习,平等的获得健康和营养服务,尤其是疫苗,以及干净的水、环境卫生和个人卫生,摆脱虐待,性别暴力和贫困,并得到支持在冲突、灾难和位移。

“应对全球COVID-19大流行至关重要。但是,其他致命疾病也威胁着世界上一些最贫困地区的数百万儿童的生命。这就是为什么我们今天紧急呼吁国家领导人,捐助者采取全球行动 和合作伙伴。”联合国儿童基金会执行主任Henrietta Fore在一份声明中说。

(新华社记者卢萨卡的赵玉鹏和莉莲·班达,坎帕拉的张盖平,纽约的王建刚,华盛顿的邓宪来,萨那的王尚,穆罕默德·穆罕默德和拉赫曼·阿尔·安西,伦敦的拉里·尼尔德和张大磊,叶山 东京的蒋巧美和新德里的胡小明也为这个故事做出了贡献。)

(视频记者:谢娥,邹德禄,贾维德·奥米德,聂云鹏;视频编辑:郑欣)

 

 

-- Apart from the large number of those infected with or even killed by the virus, COVID-19 is also plunging more children into poverty and poor education, among other crises that already exist before the pandemic.

-- In fact, as UNICEF's October report noted, some 45 percent of children worldwide were severely deprived of at least one of their critical needs ranging from education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation to water even before the pandemic hit the globe.

-- As the globe will mark this year's World Children's Day on Friday, it is widely recognized that the international community should join hands immediately to save children from various child rights crises and build a better future for every child.

by Xinhua writer Guo Yage

BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Eleven-year-old Margaret Mwanza has been very happy these days, as she can finally go back to school not only to acquire knowledge, but also to have a hot meal, probably the only meal of the day.

"For the poor, lack of access to education is not the only worrying consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The closing of schools meant children missing out on nutrition gains," said the Zambian girl's mother, Judith Mwanza.

Margaret is just one of the numerous children worldwide who are going through more hardship and suffering amid the raging pandemic -- apart from the large number of those infected with or even killed by the virus, COVID-19 is also plunging more children into poverty and poor education, among other crises that already exist before the pandemic.

As the globe will mark this year's World Children's Day on Friday, it is widely recognized that the international community should join hands immediately to save children from various child rights crises and build a better future for every child.

A child holds bags of bread while other children wait for their turn to receive bread from a charity bakery amid fears of the COVID-19 spread as the continuing civil war in the country has pushed over 20 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation in Sanaa, Yemen, April 27, 2020. (Photo by Mohammed Mohammed/Xinhua)

VICTIMS TO PANDEMIC

"This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong," said the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in an October report.

Such an impact is first of all evident in the number of children infected with the deadly virus. For example, following school reopening, several African countries have witnessed soaring infections in students.

And the situation has been not a bit better in such developed countries as the United States. According to a report released on Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association, almost 1.04 million U.S. children have been infected with the disease as of Nov. 12, representing 11.5 percent of the caseload nationwide.

Over the last week, nearly 112,000 child cases have been reported, by far the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, the report said.

"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic," said AAP President Sally Goza in a statement.

Apart from pandemic-induced perils, children's lives are also being changed profoundly in other aspects.

Around 150 million additional children are living in multidimensional poverty due to the pandemic, UNICEF said in its October report, adding the percentage of children lacking access to education or health services will rise from 47 percent to 56 percent in the post-pandemic era.

Children attend a provisional class organized by kindergarten teacher Juliet Namanda at her home as schools are closed nationwide as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 in Kampala, capital of Uganda, June 19, 2020.

(Photo by Hajarah Nalwadda/Xinhua)

According to a May report by global charity Save the Children, almost one in four children living under COVID-19 lockdowns, social restrictions and school closures is dealing with feelings of anxiety, with many at risk of lasting psychological distress.

The physical and mental impacts can be most damaging for children in the poorest neighbourhoods. A new UNICEF report in November found COVID-19 is putting education on hold for over 137 million children -- 97 percent of students -- in Latin America and the Caribbean. A World Bank study released months ago warned that amid the pandemic, Iraqi children under 18 will face a higher increase in poverty of 15.8 percent.

The Brookings Institution recently reported that while 90 percent of children in developed countries have adapted to remote learning platforms, less than 25 percent of those in Africa have access to such platforms.

Rogers Kasirye, executive director of non-governmental organization Uganda Youth Development Link, said of some 1,500 children supported by the organization, 60 percent reported they have faced sexual exploitation during the national lockdown in the name of giving food.

"We received distress calls from some of our young people we serve daily in our drop-in centers that life had become unbearable. There was a lot of hunger, and some violence was inflicted on children," says Kasirye.

An Algerian student has his temperature checked before entering a primary school in Algiers, Algeria, Oct. 21, 2020. (Xinhua)

CHRONIC CRISES

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic is not the only problem threatening children's welfare. In fact, as UNICEF's October report noted, some 45 percent of children worldwide were severely deprived of at least one of their critical needs ranging from education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation to water even before the pandemic hit the globe.

"Nearly 14 million children did not receive any vaccines in 2019. Additionally, almost 6 million children received some but not all vaccines required for full protection against many life-threatening diseases," the report said.

A joint analysis by UNICEF, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Save the Children and Murdoch Children's Research Institute published on Nov. 12 suggested that severe pneumonia leaves an estimated 4.2 million children under five in 124 low- and middle-income countries with critically low oxygen levels each year.

Besides, another analysis by UNICEF and the World Bank in October noted that one in six children, or 356 million globally, lived in extreme poverty before the pandemic.

A girl looks on as she boards a train to her home amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown on the outskirts of Agartala, the capital city of India's northeastern state of Tripura, May 17, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)

According to the UN, the years-long war in Yemen has made 2 million children under five malnourished, and forced 2 million out of school, leaving many unable to return to their schools for more than five years, and others who are lucky enough to go back having to study in tents, straw-roof huts or even under trees. These children also faced a shortage of teachers, education equipment and other requisite infrastructure.

"We have a problem that illiteracy is spreading due to the halt of education during the years of war ... there are now children at the age of 10 and above who cannot read," Abdullah Mutanbek, headmaster of a school in northern Yemen, told Xinhua.

Children are also suffering from bullying and even more violent behaviors. Around one-fifth of the kids aged 10 to 15 in England and Wales -- equivalent to 764,000 children -- have experienced at least one type of online bullying behaviors in the year ending March 2020, said a survey by the British Office for National Statistics on Monday.

The number of school bullies identified in Japan's primary, middle and high schools, as well as special support schools, reached a record high of 610,000 in 2019, said a survey released recently by the country's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

A boy wearing a face mask sits on the doorstep of his residence in Baqa'a Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, Jordan, on Sept. 14, 2020. (Photo by Mohammad Abu Ghosh/Xinhua)

CRY FOR SOLIDARITY

"On Nov. 20, kids will reimagine a better world. What will you do?" asked UNICEF on its website.

Indeed, as 2020 is raising more concerns about the present conditions of childhood, it has been widely agreed that the world should come together and do more to protect children.

Many countries, organizations and businesses have already made commitments and taken actions. As a responsible major country, China has donated anti-COVID-19 medical supplies to women and children in 53 African countries through the Organization of African First Ladies for Development.

Children participate in online learning during the COVID-19 outbreak in Pamekasan, East Java, Indonesia, April 11, 2020. (Photo by Kurniawan/Xinhua)

China has also sent doctors to the world's least developed countries to cure those children developing severe COVID-19 symptoms while suffering from congenital malformation and malnutrition, and has offered financial aid and expertise to other countries' poverty-reduction efforts.

In the 12th BRICS Summit Moscow Declaration released on Tuesday, the five major emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- expressed concerns over the increasing challenge to protect children from online sexual exploitation and other content harmful for their health and development, and said they look forward to strengthening cooperation to develop initiatives aimed at ensuring safety of children on the Internet.

In April, UNICEF and Microsoft announced the expansion of Learning Passport, a global learning platform to help children and youth continue their study at home, and Kosovo, Timor-Leste and Ukraine are the first to roll out their online curriculum through the platform.

A month later, UNICEF announced another partnership deal with mobile operator Airtel Africa to help provide access to online learning to an estimated 133 million school-age children in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, who are affected by school closures during the pandemic.

To mark this year's World Children's Day, monuments and landmark buildings across India will light up in blue in solidarity for child rights and against the impact of COVID-19 on children's lives.

A child fills her plastic bottle with drinkable water from a China-donated water filter barrel at the Trapeang Thlan Village community pre-school in Prek Pnov district, Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Sovannara/Xinhua)

And much more can be done. According to UNICEF, governments worldwide need to adopt a six-point plan to ensure that all children learn, have equal access to health and nutrition services, particularly vaccines, as well as clean water, sanitation and hygiene, get rid of abuse, gender-based violence and poverty, and receive support amid conflict, disaster and displacement.

"Addressing the global COVID-19 pandemic is critical. However, other deadly diseases also threaten the lives of millions of children in some of the poorest areas of the world. That is why today we are urgently calling for global action from country leaders, donors and partners," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a statement.

(Xinhua reporters Zhao Yupeng and Lillian Banda in Lusaka, Zhang Gaiping in Kampala, Wang Jiangang in New York, Deng Xianlai in Washington, Wang Shang, Mohammed Mohammed and Rahman Al-Ansi in Sanaa, Larry Neild and Zhang Dailei in London, Ye Shan and Jiang Qiaomei in Tokyo, and Hu Xiaoming in New Delhi also contributed to the story.)

(Video reporters: Xie E, Zou Delu, Jawid Omid, Nie Yunpeng; Video editor: Zheng Xin)

 

原作者: 郭亚日 来自: xinhua