The 14 signatories also include Antonio Gutteres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; David Miliband, President of the International Rescue Committee; Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; and Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF.
The letter marks the first time top humanitarian agencies have come together to publically call on all sides to take measures to allow lifesaving aid to reach children trapped inside Syria and prevent them from being targets of violence.
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More than 11,000 children have died in this conflict already, 71 percent of them killed indiscriminately by explosive weapons used in towns and cities.
Save the Children, the world’s leading independent organization focused on the needs of children, wants the Geneva II participants to make protecting children the first item on their agenda.
It called on all parties to commit to the following:
- Allow lifesaving aid to reach children inside Syria
- Protect schools and health facilities
- Prevent the use of explosive weapons in populated areas
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“Children in Syria are experiencing an unrelenting brutality of war. Four million children have been forced to leave their homes, and children are frequent victims of violence that leaves them severely injured or dead. This tragedy is man-made, and it is within the power of the warring parties to stop it,” said Save the Children president and CEO Carolyn Miles.
Save the Children is working to help children overcome their traumatic experiences through emotional support and play therapy, and helping them to return to getting an education.
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The agency said that approximately 4.5 million children inside Syria need assistance.
In the picture above: Syrian refugee children in Iraq. Most of the refugees did not manage to bring any belongings with them when they fled Syria. Some children managed to save their favorite teddy bear or doll, and others have received new toys after moving to refugee camps. Photo by Rob Holden for Save the Children.