WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Unicef - Unwanted, exploited and abused: tens of thousands of children in Al-Hol camp and several parts of Syria in limbo amid dire humanitarian needs
Unicef calls for improved humanitarian access and protection of children including re-integration into local communities and safe return to home countries
Taking cover from the sun at the entrance of a tent, 14-year-old Afraa, originally from Iraq, waits for her two younger siblings to be examined.
“It took us nine days to arrive here in Al-Hol from Baghouz… I don’t know what will happen to us,” she says.
At least 70,000 people live in Al-Hol Camp, northeast of Syria. UNICEF estimates that more than 90 per cent of them are children and women. Nearly 20,000 of the children are Syrians. The rest, 29,000, come from 62 different countries, including 9,000 from Iraq. Most are under the age of 12. These children are highly vulnerable, they are survivors of heavy fighting and have witnessed unimaginable atrocities.
The children in Al-Hol are facing a dire humanitarian situation and for many this is further compounded by recent experiences of having been abused or forced to fight and carry out acts of extreme violence. These children make up only a fraction of a much larger group of children allegedly associated with armed conflict; stranded in camps, detention centres and orphanages across Syria and especially in the northeast. Some, as young as 12, are reportedly being detained. They continue to be at huge risk while violence escalates. In the northwest province of Idlib, nearly 1 million children have been trapped for months on end amid heavy fighting. Their fate and future also hang in the balance.
Children in Al-Hol camp require care and protection, and also rely on urgent lifesaving assistance, especially as summer temperatures soar.
“Thousands of boys and girls in Al-Hol have never had a chance to simply be children. These are children! They deserve utmost care, protection, attention and services. After years of violence, they are unwanted, stigmatized by their local communities or shunned by their governments,” says Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria, after a visit to Al-Hol camp last week.
Despite violence winding down in the area and amid a decrease in the influx of people arriving to Al-Hol, humanitarian needs remain critical including access to safe water and health services. “We are working with partners and donors to provide children with immediate lifesaving assistance. This is a drop in the ocean. Much more needs to be done to continue providing children with basic services and protection including reintegration into their local communities and safe return to their home countries” adds Equiza.
UNICEF reminds all concerned that these are children, not perpetrators. They have the right to be safeguarded, provided legal documentation and access to family reunification. We call for the following immediate actions:
- To all the member states involved; in line with the best interests of the child and in full compliance with international legal standards: to take full responsibility for the reintegration of children into their local communities and the safe repatriation of children back to their countries.
- For all parties to the conflict in Syria and those who have influence over them: to facilitate unconditional humanitarian access to, and inside Al-Hol, and everywhere in Syria to reach every child in need wherever they are.
With partners, UNICEF continues to respond to the needs of children in Al-Hol:
- Over the past months, at least 520 unaccompanied or separated children were identified, 214 of whom have been reunified with family members, while 74 children are hosted in interim care centres.
- UNICEF is supporting learning spaces at the camp serving 3,000 students, in addition to child-friendly spaces and mobile child protection teams; reaching nearly 12,000 children with recreational activities, psychosocial support, case management, and special care for separated and unaccompanied children.
- Since the beginning of the year, UNICEF and WHO-supported mobile health and nutrition teams have been providing vaccination and nutrition services to children in the camp through fixed facilities and mobile teams.
- On a daily basis, UNICEF and partners are providing nearly 1.7 million litres of safe drinking water and 750,000 litres of water for domestic use. As water consumption rises during the summer, securing sufficient water quantities to cover the increase in demand will continue to pose a challenge.
- More than 1,280 latrines have been installed.
UNICEF is appealing for US$9 million to continue providing assistance and support to children and families in the camp and scale up operations to meet the needs.
For more information, please contact:
- Alexandra Murdoch, 020 7375 6179, email@example.com
- Unicef UK Media Team, 0207 375 6030, firstname.lastname@example.org
Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Unicef UK raises funds to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children. As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK.
For more information please visit unicef.org.uk
Latest News from
WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
TUC: Workers’ safety must come first as indoor hospitality reopens18/05/2021 12:15:00
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady yesterday commented on the re-opening of indoor hospitality.
Patients Association welcomes restoration of in-person GP appointments18/05/2021 11:40:00
The Patients Association has warmly welcomed the new requirements on GP practices to offer face to face appointments to patients who want them.
LGA - Offices left empty by COVID-19 could result in surge in substandard home conversions18/05/2021 10:40:00
Office blocks that are left empty following the coronavirus pandemic risk being turned into potential substandard housing as a result of rules that allow developers to convert buildings into homes without planning permission, councils have warned.
NHS Confederation welcomes Health and Social Care Committee report on White Paper proposals18/05/2021 09:40:00
Daniel Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, commented on the Health and Social Care Committee's report on the Government’s White Paper proposals
Wales TUC Statement: We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.17/05/2021 16:05:00
Wales TUC's statement delivered recently (15 May 2021) at Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Cardiff.
CBI joins Growing Business Awards judging panel17/05/2021 12:15:00
The Growing Business Awards recognise exceptional high-growth businesses and UK’s most outstanding entrepreneurs.
CBI NI responds to latest review of covid restrictions14/05/2021 16:38:00
CBI NI yesterday responded to latest review of covid restrictions.
Work from Home Day: new laws needed to make flexible working patterns available for all workers after pandemic14/05/2021 14:05:00
Today (Friday) is the 16th annual Work from Home Day, organised by Work Wise UK as part of Work Wise Week – a week of activity to promote employment practices that improve work-life balance.
CBI Wales responds to latest relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions14/05/2021 12:15:00
CBI Wales yesterday responded to latest relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions.