Protect Children in Conflict

Today nearly one fifth of the world's children live in war zones. From Syria to Somalia, Yemen to Myanmar, twice as many children grow up in conflict than did 30 years ago. It's time to end the war on children.

For too long, the world has failed to protect its children as political leaders have shrunk from the world stage, and haven’t put the needs and rights of children first.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Britain has a seat at some of the most powerful tables on earth, including the UN, NATO, the G20, and the Commonwealth. This means it has a vital role to play in protecting these children. 

Read the new report: Stop the War on Children

UK leadership in the world has, time and again, saved lives. Britain was crucial to the creation of the United Nations, to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Today, the UK’s commitment to protecting aid spending continues to convince other countries around the world to follow in our footsteps. 

Britain has saved lives by setting an example for the rest of the world to follow. It is time to show that leadership again.

We know that, ultimately, the Government answers to the people of the UK. It's our voices, raised alongside those of children everywhere, that will convince our Government to recommit to protect children in conflict.

Through words and deeds, the UK must send the message to the world: enough is enough. The war on children must end. 

It's time for the UK to pledge to protect children in conflict

Fahad*, 12, in his school in West Mosul which was damaged extensively during the fighting between Iraqi forces and ISIS.

Protection of Civilians Strategy

As a first step, we are calling for the Government to create a new Protection of Civilians Strategy fit for the challenges of 21st Century conflict and one that puts the protection of children front and centre, committing the UK to saving lives, alleviating suffering, and protecting human dignity.

THE NEW STRATEGY MUST:

This should include preventative measures to stop children being affected by conflict in the first place, to ensure their access to education, to look after their mental health, and to ensure they receive the aid they need during and after conflicts to rehabilitate them.

This strategy must commit the UK to consistently upholding the highest international standards and laws to protect civilians, raising these issues through bilateral and multilateral engagement, speaking out to strengthen international policy and best practices and sharing those practices with others.

This must include the increasing use of explosive weapons in populated areas, the increasing urbanisation of conflict, and the increasing disregard for international law.

This new strategy must also create and support mechanisms to track and record the harm caused to children and other civilians by conflict, and encourage other nations to do the same.

The strategy must be timebound, with transparent and meaningful reviews occurring regularly throughout its lifetime.

What you can do