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Statement attributable to Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director, deploring continued attacks on children in Syria

2017-03-23

AMMAN, 23 March 2017 – “As another round of peace talks starts in Geneva today, we are appalled that children throughout Syria continue to come under attack.
 
“Reports yesterday of an attack on a school in Ar-Raqqa in the north east of Syria remind us once again that we are failing the children of Syria. We have been failing them for more than 2,200 days already.
 
“In recent days, hostilities have intensified throughout the country, from Damascus and Rural Damascus, to Aleppo, Hama and Ar-Raqqa. Scores of civilians were killed and injured. Families are being forced to leave their homes in search of safety.
 
”According to reports, the attack on the school in Ar-Raqqa currently sheltering internally displaced families has killed 53 civilians including 12 children.
 
“Children are being deprived of their basic right to life. They are being denied their right to an education.
 
“Those events remind us once again that there is no safe place for children in Syria. Children are under attack.
 
“All parties to the conflict and those with influence must redouble their efforts to find a political solution to end a conflict that is leaving nothing but death and destruction in its path.

“Those meeting in Geneva this week should put the rights of children at the centre of all their deliberations – the right of every boy and girl to be protected, the right to receive life-saving humanitarian assistance no matter where they are and the right to an education.

”UNICEF reminds all parties engaged militarily in Syria that it is their responsibility to protect and safeguard the lives of children and their families. Civilian infrastructure including schools and hospitals should be protected, no matter who controls the area."

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.

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