Uphold international laws and standards to protect children in conflict

Across the world millions of children are caught up in wars they played no part in creating. Many children are routinely subjected to appalling acts of violence, including killing, maiming, and sexual violence. Many more are treated as ‘collateral damage’ in attacks that fail to protect children. Children in desperate need of food, care and help are being denied life-saving aid. The failure to protect schools and school children has resulted in classrooms becoming targets. Fundamental human rights and international laws designed to protect vulnerable children from the anguish and destruction of war are systematically violated.

Too often, states and armed non-state actors are failing to uphold standards in their own conduct, or – importantly – to insist on this from their allies and from others over whom they have influence. While the scale and severity of the threats facing children in conflict today is disturbing, recent history has shown that when there is political will, action and funding the protection of children is possible. There are governments who have recently sparked successful initiatives to better protect children in conflict. 

In this panel discussion we will inspire the audience with some of these examples. The session will use the examples to show what (more) major world powers can and should do to uphold international humanitarian law and international standards. Examples of topics discussed are the usage of hunger as a weapon of war, the need to protect schools and educational facilities during conflict and the issue of sexual violence against children in conflict.