‘COVID generation’ risks child marriage, forced labour, ex-leaders warn – Reuters

LONDON, Aug 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Former world leaders called on Tuesday for urgent global action to stop coronavirus creating a “COVID generation” with millions of children deprived of education and forced into marriage and work.

As lockdowns end, they urged governments to invest in catch-up programmes to prevent irretrievable damage to children’s futures.

“We cannot stand by and allow these young people to be robbed of their education and a fair chance in life,” said the letter signed by 275 former world leaders, economists and educationalists.

Signatories included former U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon, former Irish president Mary Robinson, former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and former British prime ministers Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major.

Of particular concern are an estimated 30 million children who may never return to school despite lockdowns ending.

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