The director of the Santander Chair on the Rights of the Child discusses “post-COVID new normality” in the second IESF online seminar

10/06/20
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On Wednesday 10 June, the Childcare and Family Policies Chair and the Institute of Advanced Family Studies (IESF), in collaboration with the Joaquim Molins Figueras Foundation, held the second of a series of online lectures titled “Las políticas de familia y los derechos de los niños en tiempos de COVID-19” (‘Family policies and children’s rights in times of COVID-19’). The guest speaker was Clara Martínez, director of the Santander Chair on the Rights of the Child and lecturer at the Pontifical University of Comillas.

The director of the Santander Chair on the Rights of the Child discusses “post-COVID new normality” in the second IESF online seminar
The lecture focused on analysing and discussing to what extent children's rights have been taken into account in different contexts of this pandemic, the de-escalation plans and future reconstruction.    
 
Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the lives of people all over the world, but we’ve all experienced the pandemic differently.  Children represent one group whose rights have been affected most during the isolation period and it’s thought that they will also be subject to the greatest restrictions as we move towards the “new normal”.
 
According to the expert Clara Martínez, the isolation period “has affected children’s rights, not just in terms of their right to education and play, but also in terms of their right to be protected from abuse and harm, their right to participation and access to information, as well as their right to dignity, food and access to basic services”.
 
With this context in mind, the speaker also highlighted how “the crisis is hitting certain groups of children particularly hard, such as those with disabilities, foster children, foreign unaccompanied minors and children living in poverty”. It’s undeniable that the pandemic has already increased the risk of inequality suffered by some. 
 
In anticipation of the so-called “new normality”, the director of the Santander Chair on the Rights of the Child urged that “social and economic reconstruction must be carried out with children in mind”, as it’s a question of rebuilding the past, not in terms of what life used to be like, but to prevent repeating similar situations in the future. The reconstruction should closely examine the past and look towards the future, and consider how children will be affected”, commented Martínez.  She added that “this kind of future is already outlined in the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the formal legal instrument on which all protective action is based is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The literature on human rights, such as the CRC, must be put to good use precisely in times of crisis, such as now”. 
 
The lecture ended with an open question and answer session where the guests further discussed concerns about children and the audience were able to pose their questions directly to the speaker.