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Joint Statement on Children and Armed Conflict
March 15, 2022

Joint Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict
at the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Joint Statement on Behalf of a Group of More Than 65 Countries Including the United States
As delivered by Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Permanent Observer of the European Union to the United Nations Office in Geneva

March 15, 2022

Madam Special Representative,

I am delivering this statement on behalf of a group of more than 65 countries.

We welcome the joint statement on the situation in Ukraine delivered by your mandate in cooperation with the Special Representative on Violence against Children, reminding all parties that the protection of civilians must be the first priority.

Over 2.8 million people have now fled Ukraine as war continues to ravage the country. The UN estimates that 30% of the country’s population is in dire need of life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Many of them are children. UNICEF has renewed its call for safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access to reach populations in need and for the safe passage of civilians.

We strongly condemn the heinous attack by the Russian Federation against a children’s hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol, while a ceasefire was supposed to be in place to allow civilians to evacuate. The indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure must stop immediately. Attacks on homes, schools, orphanages and medical facilities are unacceptable. Respect for international humanitarian law is paramount.

Madam Special Representative,

It is currently snowing in Ukraine with temperatures frequently going below 0°C. Children in Ukraine need help and protection. They need supplies and other critical support, and access to basic social services like health and education.

Question: In your view, what are the main risks and needs for children affected by the conflict in Ukraine?