Detained children at ‘grave risk’ of contracting coronavirus – UNICEF chief

Hundreds of thousands of children in detention around the world are at “grave risk” of contracting COVID-19, the head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday, calling for their urgent release.

Executive Director Henrietta Fore painted a picture of children detained in overcrowded spaces with inadequate access to nutrition, healthcare and hygiene services – conditions highly conducive to spreading disease.

“An outbreak in one of these facilities could happen at any moment”, she said in a statement, adding that these children were also more exposed to neglect, abuse and gender-based violence, especially with low staffing levels or care negatively impacted by the pandemic.

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