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Protecting Refugee Children During the Pandemic

After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we will be judged on how well we protected the world’s most vulnerable people, including those who have been displaced by conflicts and emergencies that they had no role in creating. Their rights, like those of every child, are non-negotiable. Right now, we are failing them.

NEW DELHI/AMMAN – Taima’a al-Hariri, a 17-year-old Syrian refugee living in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, had been regularly attending school before the Jordanian authorities introduced a necessary lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“When the coronavirus appeared, they shut down all the classrooms and we didn’t have teachers we could interact with anymore,” Taima’a says. “I was starting to do charity work with [refugee] children with cancer, but that was put on hold.”

Although the pandemic has affected children and young people around the world, refugees like Taima’a have been especially hard hit. These children have long suffered multiple deprivations: they were forced to flee wars and emergencies, sometimes without family, and are struggling to survive with no familiar comforts. And now COVID-19 is exacerbating their hardships.