Children and war

01 March 2018

Armed conflict and other situations of violence deprive children of food, clean water, health care—which is particularly troubling given the number of children who die of preventable illnesses, malnutrition, lack of safe shelter, and violence. These factors deprive children of the opportunity to fully experience childhood. Despite the protection afforded by international law, children are especially vulnerable to a myriad of risks. They are all too often drawn into hostilities, directly as child soldiers or indirectly, separated from their families, detained, recruited, forcibly driven from their homes, killed, injured, sexually abused or exploited in other ways.

Although children have been tragically affected by war throughout history, today's conflicts seemingly reach new levels of suffering. Vulnerabilities of children can be manifested differently through the lens of gender, ethnic and cultural background, disability, beliefs and other factors. In light of this, more research is needed on the mental health and psycho-social consequences armed conflict has for children, as well as on the most suitable responses to various needs and challenges they face during and after armed conflicts.

Another essential service that is affected by armed conflicts is education. As a fundamental element of a functioning society education can be thought of as an essential service, akin to electricity and clean water. Increasingly, protracted conflicts lead to lack of access to education for years, raising questions on how to protect children and ensure that they have the tools to continue their development after the conflict.

This edition of the Review will cover these topics and more. Authors are invited to send submissions to the Review's editorial team in the form of a Word document, at review@icrc.org. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2018. Additional guidelines for authors are available here.