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Universal Children's Day: the ICRC and children in war

20-11-2002 News Release 02/68

Geneva (ICRC) – On 20 November, Universal Children's Day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) once again calls attention to children’s position as some of the most vulnerable victims of armed conflicts.

Children have specific needs and must therefore receive appropriate aid that supports their development.

Today, the anniversary of the signature of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ICRC wishes to emphasise that international humanitarian law protects children from being recruited as soldiers, requires families torn apart to be reunited and helps rebuild childhoods shattered by war.


 Shattered childhoods, families torn apart, child soldiers: the law says NO!  

As guardian of the Geneva Conventions and of international humanitarian law, one of the ICRC’s top priorities is to promote the norms that protect children in wartime. The organization also reunites children with their families, monitors the situation of minors in detention and helps child soldiers back into society. Moreover, the ICRC encourages States to ratify and ensure compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits the recruitment of children and their participation in hostilities.

Showing better understanding of children also means equipping them with the means to rebuild their lives so that they cease to be passive – or active – victims of war, and instead take the future into their own hands.


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