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UNICEF calls for support of the children of Syria

UNICEF NZ Calls on New Zealanders to Raise Their Voices for the Children of Syria

Today (Saturday 15 March) marks a shameful milestone in the Syrian crisis as the third anniversary since the conflict began. UNICEF NZ is asking all New Zealanders to join in a massive call for action by signing the No Lost Generation petition (http://bit.ly/nolostgeneration). Specifically, the petition calls for:

• An end to the violence against the children of Syria
• An end to the blocking of humanitarian assistance
• An end to attacks on humanitarian workers and facilities
• A renewed commitment to reconciliation and tolerance
• More investment in the education and psychological protection of all children affected by the conflict
Hamish Lindsay, Programme Manager at UNICEF New Zealand says, “For three years, children in Syria and the surrounding region have had their lives turned upside down. Since March 2013, the number of children affected by the crisis has more than doubled from 2.3 million to 5.5 million.

“As well as having to leave their homes behind, refugee children are also now having to prematurely take on adult roles – estimates say as many as 1 in 10 refugee children are working, while in Jordan 1 in 5 refugee girls is marrying early,’” Mr Lindsay added.

A UNICEF report (‘Under Siege – The devastating Impact on Children of Three Years of Conflict in Syria’) released this week illustrates how as a result of the ongoing conflict, Syrian children have been forced to grow up faster than any child should.

Equally concerning to UNICEF are the 1 million children living under siege and in hard-to-reach areas that the humanitarian community is unable to get to on a regular basis. Estimates state 10,000 children have been killed and many thousands wounded however the actual numbers are likely to be higher.

“On the third anniversary, children are no closer to returning to their old lives – home, family, friends or schools. An entire generation has fallen far behind in their education, and are scarred from violence, displacement and loss. This generation has the potential to become entirely lost unless we demand action and protection for the children of Syria who urgently need our support. Please sign and share the petition today with as many people as you can,” Mr Lindsay concluded.

Ends

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