Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content

 New Political Declaration to better protect children in conflict is a ‘milestone achievement’

17 June 2022, London - Save the Children welcomes the news that the UK is intending to endorse the text of an Irish-led political declaration aimed at strengthening the protection of civilians from the use of explosive weapons in towns, cities and other populated areas.

James Denselow, Head of the Conflict and Humanitarian Team said:

“This is a milestone achievement in recognising a trend in modern conflict that is having a devastating impact on the lives of children. It recognises the unique vulnerabilities children have to the weapons of modern war and their proximity to too many front lines. It could be a significant step forward in the push to stop the war on children”.

Save the Children is particularly pleased to see the Declaration make specific reference to the fact that “civilian populations, particularly children, are exposed to severe and long-lasting indirect effects – often referred to as reverberating effects”.

The text has been under negotiation since 2019 and endorsing States commit to “adopt and implement a range of policies and practices to help avoid civilian harm, including by restricting or refraining as appropriate from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, when their use may be expected to cause harm to civilians or civilian objects”.

Some 50 million civilians are currently estimated to live in areas of urban conflict. Children remain in grave danger, especially from the threat of explosive weapons. Younger children injured in blasts are particularly at risk of death compared to adults and need to be treated differently. Children have weaker necks and torsos than adults, so less force is needed to cause a brain injury. In warzones, head injuries are common in young children, with patients under seven years old twice as likely to present a head injury than those over seven years.  

Save the Children, in partnership with Imperial College London and medical experts, developed a comprehensive manual - the first of its kind - to support children injured in conflict. The manual helps medical teams in conflict zones, who are often forced to operate on and treat children in difficult circumstances with limited specialist training and resources in how to do so. 

Save the Children looks forward to working closely with the UK Government to develop and improve their national policy and practice with regard to the protection of civilians during armed conflict involving the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

In 2021 the UK Ministry of Defence released Joint Service Publication 985 that outlined how “The UK recognises that protecting children from the effects of armed conflict is a moral, legal and strategic imperative and an essential element to break the cycle of violence”


For interviews or more information, please contact: media@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 (0) 7831 650409.