UN campaign to protect conflict-affected children

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations, The UN has unveiled a new initiative to raise greater awareness and action to improve the protection of children affected by armed conflict.

Launched on Tuesday by UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba, the campaign seeks to strengthen collaboration between the United Nations, civil society and the international community over the next three years to support action designed to end and prevent grave violations committed against children in times of conflict, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Xinhua reported.

The campaign is entitled “Act to Protect Children Affected by Conflict”.

In his message of support to the campaign, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the new global campaign aims to raise worldwide awareness, assist children in need and prevent them from becoming victims in the first place.

“Crucially, this initiative will offer children an opportunity to raise their voices,” said the UN chief.

Violence against children in armed conflict can take many forms: killing and maiming, recruitment and use, sexual abuse, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian assistance, said Guterres, adding that if a child survives and is to be released to a reintegration programme, they still have only a slim chance of recovery.

A lack of resources and a failure to provide long-term assistance to victims and their communities have made many children open to a second victimisation, he said, “either through the stigmas they carry or through inadequate education and growth opportunities, leaving them trapped in a cycle of violence and despair”.

The UN chief called for support to ensure the campaign reaches “all corners of the world so no child ever fears being left behind again”.