International commitment to protect children in conflict

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‘There is an urgent need to step up the protection of children from the horrors of war. I’m thankful for the commitments by states and organisations to better protect children in armed conflict’, said Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt.

At the Oslo Conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, states and organisations committed to better protect children.  

‘Increasingly the places children live, learn and play are attacked and destroyed. With more than 100 armed conflicts in the world, the lives and futures of children are at stake. It is vital that states, international organisations and civil society come together to strengthen protection and support to children in armed conflict’, said Huitfeldt. 

Around 30 states together with over 40 organisations and civil society recognized that the suffering of children affected by armed conflict is one of the most pressing political and humanitarian concerns today. They committed to making every effort to ensure the protection of children in armed conflict and safeguard our common future. 

‘This conference has been a unique and historic gathering, with the majority of countries, UN and civil society present. With 1 in 6 children living in conflict zones, and going to bed unprotected, this is an urgent crisis to deal with. The test for this conference is how the ambitious commitments delivered at the conference translate into tangible results for children. Save the Children stands ready to do our part to stop the war on children’, said Chief Executive Officer Inger Ashing of Save the Children International. 

Parties to conflict must protect children. That is an obligation under international law. 

‘Protecting children is a choice. And so, too, is putting them at risk, forcing them into conflict, and blatantly denying their needs. War and conflict are the work of adults. Children do not start wars and they are powerless to end them. At a minimum, we must do everything in our power to keep children safe from the dangers and deprivation wrought by those who engage in conflict. I urge all states and entities to make the right choice to protect children today so they can grow up to create a more peaceful world for future generations’, said Executive Director Catherine Russell of UNICEF. 

The goal of the Oslo International Conference 5 – 6 June 2023, was to mobilise global action, political and financial commitments to better protect children in armed conflict and safeguard our common future. 

‘Everywhere the International Committee of the Red Cross works – from the frontlines to camps, prison facilities and cities, children suffer enormously. At the heart of protecting children in armed conflict lies respect for international humanitarian law; and I am urging states to strengthen their commitments and to influence others to do the same. I am grateful to Norway for convening this important conference to ensure the protection of children in armed conflict receives the political and funding support needed’, said President Mirjana Spoljaric of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).