GENEVA (4 March 2022) -- With at least 19 children killed and 31 injured in the armed conflicts during Russia's invasion of Ukraine in the past few days, the UN Child Rights Committee today demanded the Russian Federation to immediately cease its aggression and military actions and uphold its obligations to protect children from physical and psychological violence. The Committee issued the following statement:
"Children in Ukraine are currently subject to extreme suffering and trauma. They are being killed and injured. They are separated from their families. Homes are being destroyed. Their education is interrupted. There are reports of schools, orphanages and hospitals being attacked. Their daily lives and routines have been utterly shattered. As a consequence of the military attack on Ukraine, children are exposed to extreme violence and experience unbearable levels of fear and anxiety.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child enshrines the children's rights to life, survival and development and the whole range of rights to water, food, housing, health, education and freedom from all forms of violence. Children are entitled to care, assistance and protection at all times. Unfortunately, history has shown many times over that children are among the most affected in situations of armed conflict.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child is deeply disturbed by the fact that grave violations of children's rights in Ukraine are being committed by the Russian Federation's aggression and military attack in Ukraine, in violation of the Charter of the United Nations. According to the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, between 4am on 24 February and midnight on 3 March, the deaths of at least 19 children and injuries of 31 children were recorded. Children will suffer from profound, long-lasting physical, psychological, emotional and traumatic consequences.
As the preamble of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict emphasizes, peace and security based on full respect of the purposes and principles contained in the Charter and observance of applicable human rights instruments are indispensable for the full protection of children, in particular during armed conflicts.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child demands that the Russian Federation immediately ceases aggression and military actions against Ukraine and that it upholds its obligations under the Convention as espoused by the United Nations Secretary-General to enforce the United Nations Charter to protect children's rights to the utmost degree and as the highest priority."
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors States parties' adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols on involvement of children in armed conflict, and on sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The Convention to date has 196 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.