As armed conflict continues to rage in Ukraine, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), Virginia Gamba, is urgently calling attention on the plight of Ukrainian children who have been uprooted, their schools as well as medical facilities closed, destroyed, damaged, or used for military purposes, and their physical integrity and well-being constantly threatened by the ravages of conflict.
The Special Representative is particularly worried about the information on growing numbers of killing and maiming of civilians, including children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access. She further reminds that the recruitment and use of children is prohibited under international law and that regardless of their roles, under no circumstances should children below 18 years be involved in armed conflict.
“When parties to armed conflict cannot find common ground for the peaceful resolution of their disputes; when military action primes over humanitarian concerns; when the dread of war continues to uproot populations, time has come to place children at the heart of negotiations and strive to find common ground, for the children’s sake,” the Special Representative said.
“I urge all parties to the armed conflict in Ukraine to resolutely engage in meaningful peace negotiations. Hostilities must cease for the sake of Ukrainian children. Political and military considerations must take second place when the lives, protection and well-being of children are at stake,” she reminded.
The Special Representative also urged parties to immediately cease attacks on schools and hospitals, on related protected personnel and to not use these facilities for military purposes.
Furthermore, she issued a reminder that uprooted children are at their most vulnerable and all must be done to ensure their protection. “We must be vigilant and redouble our efforts to ensure that these children do not fall prey to human predators, continue their education and be provided with the assurances that their interests and needs will be prioritized wherever they are,” she added.
Note to editors: The Children and Armed Conflict mandate reports and verifies on six grave violations common in situations of armed conflict. The six grave violations are recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access to children.
For additional information, please contact:
Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-212-963-5986 (office) / +1-917-288-5791 (mobile) / firstname.lastname@example.org
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