430,000 children continue to bear the brunt of eastern Ukraine conflict – UNICEF

2 Dec 2019 03:46 PM

Despite recent developments intending to protect the rights of children affected by eastern Ukraine’s more than five-year long conflict, nearly half a million girls and boys continue to face grave risks to their physical health and psychological well-being, said UNICEF yesterday.

“It is unconscionable that children in eastern Ukraine continue to go to schools with bullet holes and bomb shelters and live in neighbourhoods that are intermittently shelled and littered with landmines,” said UNICEF’s Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan, who recently returned from meeting children and families in eastern Ukraine. “A political solution is long overdue. We call on all parties to the conflict to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.”

Ms. Khan acknowledged that the Ukrainian Government’s recent endorsement of the Safe Schools Declaration is a positive step to better protect education from attack and to reduce the military use of schools, but emphasized that more than five years of conflict have been devastating for children on either side of the contact line. This includes;

“The children I met in eastern Ukraine have hopes and dreams like all children but have suffered tremendously after five years of living in constant danger,” said Ms. Khan. “UNICEF and partners stand ready to support measures to further protect children and ensure the full implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration,” she added.

Across eastern Ukraine, UNICEF and partners provide psychosocial support and mine risk education to hundreds of thousands of children, youth and caregivers. UNICEF also supports repairs to damaged schools and kindergartens and vital water and sanitation facilities.

In 2019, only 37 per cent of UNICEF’s emergency appeal to support children and their families in eastern Ukraine was funded. Water, sanitation and hygiene activities including water trucking, provision of water treatment chemicals and providing uninterrupted access to safe water had an even larger funding gap of 80 per cent.

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About Unicef

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