The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, Mrs. Virginia Gamba welcomed today’s adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2712 (2023) addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza. This adoption sends a critical message to parties to the conflict, namely Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad reminding them about their obligation under international humanitarian law, particularly when it comes to the protection of children.

The resolution calls for urgent and extended ‘humanitarian pauses and corridors’ required for the immediate provision of children’s essential needs and to prioritize the rescue of children who might lie buried under rubble in Gaza. It further calls for the immediate release of child hostages and calls on all parties to conflict to refrain from hindering entrance and distribution of humanitarian aid to children, while also providing for priority evacuation of sick and injured children.

‘I welcome the child-centered approach of this United Nations Security Council Resolution, which is critical in a heavily populated area like Gaza where almost half of the population is under 18 years old. As we know, children are disproportionately impacted by war. Children do not start armed conflict and we must protect them. All parties to conflict must respect their international obligations, even in times of war,’ said the Special Representative.

Children and their protection should be everyone’s concern. Over the past six weeks, children have been abducted, killed, and maimed daily, while hospitals and schools have been attacked rendering them useless for the purpose for which they were built. “The situation in Gaza is horrific and children have suffered from death, injury, and denial of humanitarian assistance and access; abducted children are also held in Gaza, while hospitals and schools are being destroyed. These are all grave violations in the children and armed conflict agenda. This situation must stop now,” added the Special Representative.

This United Nations Security Council Resolution is a first step in the right direction to ensure the protection of children during armed conflict and to prevent grave violations against them. “The international community must learn to value peace more than conflict and must put its energy into the peaceful resolution of the underlying conflict. Violence is a human construct and so is peace. Let us bring peace to all our children now. Children from Israel and the State of Palestine deserve a life free from fear and violence” concluded Ms. Gamba.



For media inquiries, please contact:

Ariane Lignier, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, New York.