The armed conflicts in Gaza and Sudan have created unconscionable and catastrophic humanitarian consequences for children, who are now facing starvation and an imminent risk of famine if no actions are urgently taken to ensure and speed up the safe, systematic, and unimpeded delivery of life-saving assistance. This is especially so in northern Gaza, where UNICEF reports that one in six children is acutely malnourished while in Sudan, nearly 14 million children – half the country’s children – now require humanitarian assistance, and 730,000 children are already severely and acutely malnourished.

In 2018, UN Security Council Resolution 2417 recognized the link between armed conflict, food insecurity, and the threat of famine.

“I call on all parties to protect civilians and civilian objects, and to facilitate safe, rapid, and unimpeded access to all civilians in need in full adherence to international humanitarian law,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba. “I urge for parties to implement immediate humanitarian ceasefires. The future of children in Gaza, Sudan, and in other dire situations depends on it.”

Humanitarian assistance is not being delivered to the North of Gaza at the scale needed to meet catastrophic needs. Scaling up the provision of supplies to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilians, including children, in Gaza – as called for in Security Council Resolution 2712 (2023) must urgently take place.

In Sudan, one year of conflict has unleashed a catastrophic humanitarian situation, with more than 25 million people in need of urgent assistance. The situation is particularly dire in the Darfur, Khartoum, and South Kordofan states, where 90 % of people, mostly women and children, facing emergency levels of acute food insecurity are located– according to OCHA.  Acute hunger has surged with devastating consequences; a recent assessment found that one child is dying every two hours in Zamzam camp in North Darfur.

In these conflicts and many other situations such as Haiti and Myanmar, humanitarian assistance and personnel face access challenges and heightened safety and security risks. In Afghanistan, severe restrictions on women from working for the United Nations and non-governmental organizations impair the delivery of vital services and humanitarian assistance across most sectors.

Safe, rapid, and unimpeded humanitarian access is a prerequisite for effective humanitarian action and the Special Representative calls on all parties to conflicts in Gaza, Sudan, and other situations to comply with their obligations in that regard. The Special Representative also calls on parties to respect humanitarian organizations’ activities in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence.

“From Gaza to Sudan, millions of children trapped in armed conflict are suffering from acute hunger. Access to water, food, and other life-saving assistance for children is not only a matter of immediate survival but is also a matter of sustainable health and growth. Facilitating access to humanitarian aid is not a choice, it is an obligation for all parties to armed conflict and so is the protection of children,” the Special Representative added.


For media inquiries, please contact:

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