The implementation of children’s rights is regarded as especially important in times of emergency. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, few governments around the world chose to pay explicit attention to children and their human rights. The adverse consequences of lockdowns for children’s education, health, and development have been profound. Had governments engaged with children and young people, as they have promised to do, some of these harms might have been reduced or avoided. In future emergencies, governments should ensure that children’s best interests are a primary consideration. Children and young people should also be involved in policymaking processes so that the impacts on them from public policies in any emergency are understood fully and addressed explicitly.

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