Joint Statement on the situation in Ukraine by the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and on Violence against Children

New York, 25 February 2022 - In view of the escalating armed conflict in Ukraine, the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and on Violence against Children, Dr Najat Maalla M’jid, remind all parties involved in the conflict, whether operating inside Ukraine or in its vicinity, that the protection of civilians must be their first priority.

As such, the 7.5 million children in Ukraine must be protected from the harms of conflict and the UN Officials emphasize that under no circumstances should children be recruited or used in armed conflict.

“As military operations are ongoing, all principles of international humanitarian and human rights law must be applied, including those on proportionality and discrimination in the targeting and carrying out of operations. We call on all parties to refrain from attacking civilian infrastructures, especially those impacting children – this includes schools and medical facilities as well as water and sanitation systems.”

“Negotiated peace must continue to be the objective over any military solution to the crisis for children to be spared from the horrors of armed conflict. We reiterate the Secretary-General’s call for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a return to bilateral negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict, in line with the UN Charter.”

“It is not too late to save this generation of children from the scourge of war, as children always pay the highest price,” expressed the Special Representatives.