International Day: World must protect Children’s Rights

20 Nov, 2015 | Press Releases

n this International Day of the Rights of the Child, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational, together with their Syrian partners, stand in solidarity with the children in Syria who since 2011 are living through unspeakable horror and violence, perpetrated with ever-increasing frequency and brutality amidst a culture of almost complete impunity.

Syria is emblematic of the humanitarian and human rights disaster that disproportionately affects children in conflict zones around the world. Children have a right to food, medical treatment, education and security. However, children in Syria are able to enjoy none of these rights.  Worse, as highlighted in the first report by UN Secretary-General on the situation of children and armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, they are victims of “countless killings and maimings”. In its most recent Report, released in September 2015, the UN’s independent international Commission of Inquiry (CoI) also reported about the untold number of children who have suffered the same violations as adults, without discrimination and about the continued recruitment and use of child soldiers by parties to the conflict. The CoI report concluded that “As a result of repeated exposure to violence and insecurity, children throughout the Syrian Arab Republic are exhibiting symptoms of trauma, including psychological and behavioural disorders, as well as post-traumatic stress. The protracted duration of the conflict is weakening these children’s resilience”.

After four years of failure by the international community to bring an end to the conflict in Syria, we renew our appeal to all States, and to all regional and international organisations, to demonstrate their commitment to human rights and particularly the rights of children by breaking the cycle of impunity that is ravaging the country. Providing accountability for the crimes and ensuring the participation of children affected by them in this process need to become the centerpiece of any international efforts on Syria to end the bloodshed and to bring justice for the Syrian people. This is also the only way to ensure today’s Syrian children can overcome the legacy of violence and grow up in a safe and secure environment that guarantees their rights.

Finally, we should remind ourselves that also in times of peace children’s fundamental rights are at threat or violated, as demonstrated by the millions of girls worldwide who are subjected to female genital mutilation and forced marriage. NPWJ and the NRPTT appeal to all states in which these human rights violations are perpetrated to enact and enforce legislation to unequivocally prohibit them as well as to provide strong and clear support for the innumerable human rights groups, women’s associations and individual advocates that fight a daily battle to bring an end to these forms of violence”.