Human Rights Council

High-Level Panel Discussion:

- Human Rights of Children in Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/RES/36/20)

13 March 2018

Thank you, Mr. President,

In the Syrian conflict, attacks against civilian facilities and indiscriminate killings of civilians persist. Over the last couple of weeks, the situation has further escalated, especially in the regions of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib. In these conditions, children are the most vulnerable, and they need special protection for all parties to the conflict.

The destruction of a high number of hospitals following the indiscriminate attacks has caused the deterioration of the healthcare systems, which has an extremely detrimental impact on the general health of Syrian children.

However, the devastation of the medical infrastructure is not the only element that is putting the lives of children at risk. Their condition in besieged cities is particularly challenging. In fact, in these areas, access for humanitarian aid and assistance is especially difficult and a growing number of children are suffering from malnutrition.

Syrian children are facing multiple daily violations of their most basic human rights, such as the right to food, health, and to education. Furthermore, they are victims of excessive violence and forced recruitment by different parties to the conflict.

As a result, children are suffering from devastating psychological consequences, including ‘toxic stress’, which can have a life-long impact on children’s mental and physical wellbeing.

EAFROD and Geneva International Centre for Justice urge all parties to the conflict to respect and to comply with international human rights law and international humanitarian law to ensure access to humanitarian aid, especially in besieged areas, and stop the indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population that are causing the death of innocent people, including many children. The international community must take all possible measures to ensure that the basic human rights of Syrian children are protected, and must ensure the provision of mental health and psychosocial programming inside Syria.

Thank you.

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