No relief for children victims of aggression after almost forty years of their commemoration

4 Jun, 2021 | Press Releases

In 1982, the United Nations General Assembly decided to commemorate Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on 4 June of each year. This international day reminds the world about the effects that armed conflicts have on children, who suffer the gravest violations of their human rights during that time. Today’s commemoration points at the urgent need for protecting children who are in areas in which conflict has arisen or may arise.

Almost 40 years have passed since the UN decided to commemorate this international day, yet not much has changed. In too many parts of the world, children, still to this day, are disproportionately affected by conflict and are denied their innocence and childhood. According to a recent publication by Save the Children, 426 million children live in conflict areas, such as Syria, Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Colombia, countries in which they face a high risk of sexual violence by armed groups. Children victims and survivors of attacks also suffer from severe trauma, such as dramatically experienced in Gaza, Myanmar and Tigray.

The reality of children in conflict areas today contradicts the promise made through multiple international instruments and mechanisms to protect and promote their rights. It indicates how far we are from reaching specific target 16.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.

No Peace Without Justice stresses the importance of committing to the different international instruments and mechanisms created for the promotion and protection of the rights of children. In the case of children in zones of conflict, the International Criminal Court has played and can continue to play an important role holding individuals accountable for crimes committed against them and deterring such acts. However, nothing will change unless the instruments and mechanisms that can promote and protect the rights of children are implemented and taken seriously by States, local and international organisations and society at large. Furthermore, nothing will change unless States stop directly and indirectly feeding armed conflicts in their own territories or in foreign lands, as children will always be victims in those conflicts.

For more information, contact Nicola Giovannini on