URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT AND CARE FOR CHILDREN
The war has shattered the child protection system in Ukraine. Among the most at risk are the almost 100,000 children in institutions such as orphanages and boarding schools. It was an established fact, even before the war, that institutional care can harm children’s wellbeing and development, as it lacks the nurturing care and emotional support of a family environment. Under the current crisis, institutions are becoming alarmingly understaffed and challenged to provide primary care, psycho-social support, and assistance to children with disabilities. As a result, children in these settings are exposed to a heightened risk of violence and neglect and are isolated with very low chances to be evacuated.
We appeal for an immediate cessation of hostilities until a ceasefire has been negotiated. We ask to prioritize the care and protection of children and the respect of their human rights
We also call on the international community and like-minded partners to join hands to ensure that children who have lost parental care and those at risk of losing it keep safe and receive the dedicated care they need.
We believe interventions should focus on the following five priorities:
- Maintenance of humanitarian corridors and enforcement of the rules of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts that are relevant to children
- Immediate evacuation of children in institutions on the frontline in between the conflicting armed forces in Ukraine.
- Provision of vital humanitarian aid, including mental health and psycho-social support to children affected by the war and their families or alternative care professionals, both within the Ukrainian territory and neighbouring countries.
- Provision of refuge and quality emergency care to all children and adults fleeing the war.
- Medium to long term plans for children to access their right to quality care and protection, both in Ukraine and in countries receiving displaced children. This includes reconstruction of disrupted child protection, alternative care and education systems.