I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Syria core group of France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and UK. We welcome the opportunity to focus attention on the violations and abuses of the human rights of children in Syria and to hear from civil society.
After almost seven years of war, millions of Syrian children have known nothing but conflict. They are being robbed of their childhood and future. They bear both physical and psychological scars, which they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Recent reports show that Syria is the most dangerous country in the world to be a child. Children are being killed and injured because of airstrikes and attacks by pro-regime forces. They are missing their education because around one in three schools have been destroyed or damaged. The destruction of medical facilities, as well as imprisonment and killing of healthcare workers, means children and their families are being denied essential medical care. The abhorrent siege of Eastern Ghouta has led to nearly 12% of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Children are being illegally detained – primarily by the Assad regime - and subjected to torture and sexual violence. They have also been forcibly recruited and used by regime forces and terrorist groups. This has resulted in them being exposed to extreme violence, and forced to carry out terrible crimes.
The international community must do more to protect children and to ensure that there is accountability for those who have violated or abused their rights. We must ensure that the children of Syria have a better and safer future.