“The United Nations deals daily with the crises of our times, from the flashpoints that grab the headlines, to the orphaned conflicts and silent emergencies that deserve more attention.” _Secretary-General
Children have special protection. All nations have domestic law to safeguard their children. International law also protects children. The Declaration of Rights of the Child, sets forth that “mankind owes to the child the best it has to give” and that every child is entitled, without any exception whatsoever to this special protection. It is the duty of every person in our world not only to provide that protection but to guard and defend it.
As crisis in Syria continues, the world is informed about it all, including its impact on the children of Syria. International organizations have been working to ensure that the world is aware and does not overlook the human realities of the conflict. These same organizations have provided direct relief to the women and children who are most affected by this conflict.
On January 27th the UN Secretary-General published his report on “children and armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The report is the first report on the situation of children in the Syria armed conflict.
The report “highlights that the use of weaponry and military tactics that are disproportionate and indiscriminate by Government forces and associated militias has resulted in countless killings and the maiming of children, and has obstructed children’s access to education and health services.” It also contains a long list of recommendations to “halt violations and increase the protection of children affected by the armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic.” The report calls out to and urges “all parties to the conflict,” placing primary authority on the Government of Syria, to take adequate measures.
“I am here to send our strong solidarity and support to all the refugees who came from Syria, on behalf of the United Nations and the international community,” said Mr. Ban during his visit to Syrian refugee camps in northern Iraq last month. Yet, his report shows that the children need more than solidarity and support. They need immediate action and they need change that will provide them with their inalienable rights.
Aside from shedding light into the horrible conditions that these children are enduring, the Secretary-General’s report is urging those responsible to take acts to stop and change these conditions. I think it is time to extend the call to the world. But who is going to take charge? Should we urge the UN to take a more active role? Should we urge countries to work with Syria? Do we call the courts to step in? When is it appropriate to do so? More importantly, what can be, and should be, done now?