STATEMENT - 10 October 2023

Call for immediate protection of children and their rights in the Gaza Strip and Israel

The escalation of conflict in the Gaza Strip and Israel has already led to the loss of hundreds of lives, thousands of injured and hundreds of thousands of families displaced and in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation is particularly dire for children who have lost or are at risk of losing parental care.

SOS Children’s Villages calls on all parties to the conflict to take immediate steps to protect children and respect international human rights and International Humanitarian Law, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

We ask all parties to mitigate the harm to civilians caught in the conflict and to prioritize the protection of children, young people, and their families, upholding their human rights by:

  • Ensuring that civilians, especially children and young people, can consistently be evacuated to safe places.
  • Protecting shelters and civilian infrastructure from any attack.
  • Granting and protecting access to food, shelter and medical care as well as to basic commodities such as fuel, drinking water, and power supply.
  • Ensuring vital humanitarian aid to children affected by the war and their families, including mental health and psycho-social support (MHPSS). Children without or at risk of losing parental care are already more vulnerable to mental health issues.


Children and young people are among the most exposed to violence, deprivation, and inequalities stemming from conflict. In addition to their own trauma, they feel the struggles and fears of the adults caring for them and their loved ones. This is even more true for children without, or at risk of losing, parental care. The human, humanitarian and psychological consequences on all children and their families will be substantial and long-lasting. Continued fighting and targeting of civilian infrastructure, including healthcare, educational facilities, shelters and power supply networks, disrupt human rights.

SOS Children’s Villages supports children and families to access their needs and human rights - also in the context of conflict. All Member Associations of SOS Children's Villages pledge to consistently base their decisions on the fundamental humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence, ensuring the utmost care and respect for the well-being and dignity of affected populations.


SOS Children’s Villages, founded in 1949, is the world’s largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it.

Child neglect, abuse and abandonment is everywhere. Families are at risk of separation. Locally led, we work in more than 130 countries and territories, including both Israel and Palestine, to strengthen families who are under pressure so they can stay together. When this is not in a child or young person’s best interests, we provide quality care according to their unique needs.

Together with partners, donors, communities, children, young people and families, we enable children to grow up with the bonds they need to develop and become their strongest selves. We speak up for each child’s rights and advocate for change so all children can grow up in a supportive environment.

Our work is guided by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children.

For more information, please contact

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