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Preventing Violations and Violence against Children in the Arab Region

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Algeria
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Arab League
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Joint Statement by the League of Arab States and the UN SRSGs for Children and Armed Conflict and on Violence against Children [i]

New York/Cairo, 7 July 2021 – The League of Arab States and the UN Special Representatives for Children and Armed Conflict and on Violence against Children today renewed their commitment to put an end to the continuum of violence and to prevent grave violations against children before, during and after conflict as well as in humanitarian settings; and further expressed their will to continue strengthening their cooperation to protect children’s rights across the Arab world.

In the Arab region, many children experience violence in all spheres of society: at home, in schools, online and in the community. Many of them are forced to escape unimaginable levels of trauma and destruction triggered by the wide continuum of violence, before, during and after conflicts. In conflict situations, the vulnerability of boys and girls to grave violations including child recruitment and use by armed forces and armed groups as well as other crimes such as trafficking for sexual purposes by organized crime organizations, has been exacerbated by the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, further preventing the full realization of their rights.

“As we continue to respond to the increased needs of communities and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the protection of children must remain at the forefront of our humanitarian, development and peacebuilding efforts. We ask today all partners at national, regional and global levels to join efforts and ensure that attention and resources are dedicated to respond to conflict-affected children and their needs, including access to education and health care particularly impacted by the pandemic, as well as livelihood opportunities and access to justice,” emphasized the three High Officials.

Strengthening Cooperation to Better Protect Children from all Forms of Violence

The cooperation between the Special Representative on Violence against Children and the League of Arab States has been promoted since the outset of the Violence against Children mandate in 2009 and is currently framed by a joint roadmap of priority actions to end violence against children in the region. The cooperation between the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and the League of Arab States was reinforced in 2014 with the signature of an agreement to strengthen the protection of children affected by armed conflict in the Arab world. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2427 (2018) emphasized the critical contribution made by regional and subregional organizations to protect children in armed conflict and encouraged them to continue mainstreaming child protection in their work as well as supporting national authorities to do so. In this regard, the prominent role the League of Arab States plays in the region makes its collaboration with the Children and Armed Conflict Office of paramount importance to prevent grave violations against children.

“Prevention efforts are instrumental not only to protect children from hostilities but also to ensure that they can contemplate a prosperous future in realizing the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals. Accounting for a large majority of the population in the Arab world, including in conflict affected countries, children and young people are our most precious assets. It is our common duty to protect them from the atrocities of wars and give them tools so they can play a key role in building peaceful and prosperous societies in all parts of the Arab world,” the three high officials added.

The League of Arab States and the Special Representatives reaffirmed the importance of reaching the furthest behind, especially children on the move as well as boys and girls facing hostilities, to ensure that they can enjoy a life free from fear and violence in a near future. They reminded that addressing the root causes of violence and conflict is instrumental to ending all forms of child’s rights violations.

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Note to editors

The UN Children and Armed Conflict mandate covers 8 situations in the Arab world: Iraq, Israel and the State of Palestine, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The UN Violence against Children mandate covers all UN Member States, including all Member States of the League of Arab States: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Miguel Caldeira, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Communication Officer, +1-917-367-6132 / +1-917-402- 8971 caldeira1@un.org

Omran Fayad, League of Arab States, Women, family and childhood Directorate omran.fyad@hotmail.com

Fabienne Vinet, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, New York. Tel: +1 646 537-5066 vinet@un.org

[i] The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba; the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid; and the Assistant Secretary General for Social Affairs of the League of Arab States, Dr. Haifaa Abou Ghazala.