4 June 2018, GENEVA – The Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, Dr. Hanif Hassan Ali Al Qassim, appeals to international decision-makers to address all forms of violence against children in armed conflicts. The Geneva Centre’s Chairman made this call to action on the occasion of the 2018 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression commemorated annually on 4 June.
In the Arab region, he noted that violent and extremist groups indiscriminately target children and youth in conflicts areas. In the case of Syria, UNHCR estimates that approximately 43% of internally displaced persons are children. Nearly 3 million Syrian children live as refugees and more than 40% of Syrian refugee children have no access to education.
“The adverse impact of the conflict in Syria indiscriminately targets children. The complex situation in the country has led to a deteriorating situation for Syrian children. The humanitarian situation in the country has adversely affected children as they are not being spared from the onslaught of armed conflict, which has now entered its seventh year. All forms of violence against children must therefore come to an end,” Dr. Al Qassim said.
In addition, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman underlined that in other countries entrenched in conflict and violence children’s life is at jeopardy. In the case of Palestine, Dr. Al Qassim expressed his deep concern about the exercise of brutal and indiscriminate force by Israeli occupying forces primarily in the besieged Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank.
“Half of the children in Gaza depend on shrinking humanitarian assistance in the context of the Israeli blockade which indiscriminately targets the civilian population. The recent killings of children during the 2018 Gaza protests is yet another example of Israeli brutality against Palestinian children. The lives of Palestinian children matter,” he exclaimed.
“I call upon the UN to investigate the Gaza border clash between Palestinian protesters and the Israeli occupying force,” the Geneva Centre’s Chairman said.
In order to address all forms of violence against children, Dr. Al Qassim remarked that impunity must not prevail and that all perpetrators who have committed crimes against children must be brought to justice. Widespread crimes against humanity – he added – affecting civilians must be condemned uniformly by world leaders regardless of where they take place.
In conclusion, Dr. Al Qassim noted that “peace must also be given a chance to protect children from abuse, exploitation and the adverse impacts of armed conflict. Aggression of children in the Arab region and elsewhere in the world need to come to an immediate end.”