The world as we know it is facing an unprecedented global crisis, one that compounds the suffering of the world’s already most vulnerable—especially those who live in armed conflict environments.

The Secretary-General has made a plea for peace and called for a global cease-fire as the world is facing a common enemy called COVID-19. In the past few days, his call has been heard by armed elements in Cameroon, the Philippines, Syria and Yemen, who have all announced ceasefires.

Reducing violence is essential; as the Secretary-General emphasized in his message, it is the most vulnerable ones—children, women, people with disabilities, and the displaced populations, among others — who will pay the highest price.

As borders are closing down and hostilities continue relentlessly, it is important to stand with those who are counting on us and to amplify our call for the protection of children affected by conflict; only together can we defeat this invisible threat.

We are adding our voice and efforts to the whole UN family in confronting this unprecedented challenge; the major humanitarian appeal launched recently to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19, particularly in fragile countries with weak health systems, is a crucial part of our joint efforts.  From Asia to Africa, from the Middle East to South America: the United Nations and its partners will continue to work tirelessly to make sure that boys and girls victims of grave violations or at risk are not forgotten and receive the support and protection they need.

There may be times in the coming weeks when our efforts will be stymied and our operations thwarted, making the delivery of services difficult or temporarily halted. Despite having to adjust to this new reality, we remain focused and committed to the heart of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate:

  • PROTECTING children used and abused by, for and in armed conflict
  • PREVENTING violations committed against children from occurring in the first place
  • RAISING awareness and strengthening partnerships for children
  • PROMOTING lessons learnt and best practices

The future remains uncertain, but our efforts are needed more than ever.

Throughout the uncertainty and often working in harsh conditions, dedicated child protection actors on the ground continue to provide vital support and bring hope to children survivors of grave violations.

Now is not the time to give up: boys and girls living in conflict zones need us more than ever. We must stand together in empathy, in solidarity and in action to face this unprecedented challenge. And overcome it.