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Syria: ICRC launches "Children and War" campaign

30-04-2004 News Release 04/60

The ICRC launched its "Children and War" campaign in Syria on Wednesday.

The opening event, held at al-Assad Library Auditorium, was attended by Assma al-Assad, wife of Syria’s president, as well as various ministers, ambassadors, academics and representatives of international organizations, the media and Syrian child-aid organizations. It was organized to raise public awareness of the plight of children affected by armed conflict and of the campaign activities planned for the coming year. There was a stark contrast between the video clips viewed by audience of the suffering endured by children in war and the normal pleasures of children dancing and singing on the auditorium stage. 

In current conflicts, widespread lack of respect for and ignorance of international humanitarian law means that children caught up in war are exposed to the risk of death and severe injury but also to other terrible ordeals such as separation from their loved ones, a pitiless struggle for survival in a hostile environment, imprisonment, economic exploitation, recruitment by warring parties, and sexual abuse. The humanitarian law in force prescribes wide-ranging protection for children. While already benefiting from the general protection afforded civilians not taking part in hostilities, 25 provisions of the four Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols grant children special protection.

The year-long " Children and War " campaign is being carried out in close cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. In addition to publicizing the particular problems faced by children affected by armed conflict, its purpose is to spread knowledge of the basic rules of humanitarian law.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Lana Bayda, ICRC Damascus, tel. ++963 1133 10476 or ++963 1133 39034 or ++963 9333 6609