- Text by Alex King
Five years ago, Syrian children lived in peace. Maybe they were at school or nursery, studying for exams or daydreaming at the back of the class. Flash forward to today and Syrians are stuck between the brutality of ISIS and dictator Bashar al-Assad, dreading the next next barrel bomb, mortar attack or air strike.
Unicef’s powerful viral video serves as a reminder of how easily a peaceful country can descend in to violence – as Syria has over the last five years, as the Balkans did in the ‘90s and all of Europe did during the Second World War – forcing hundreds of thousands to become refugees.
But memories are short – especially in government – and the international response to the Syria conflict has been woefully inadequate. Someone else’s problem – it could never happen to us.
Unicef UK is calling on the British government to prioritise protecting children from violence. They’re seizing the opportunity of the first World Humanitarian Summit next year. The briefing recommends that the UK should commit to:
• Protecting children from extreme violence – tackling the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, sexual violence and other grave dangers.
• Protecting the schools that keep children safe – including endorsing new international guidelines to stop schools being used by military forces.
• Protecting children who are torn from their families by wars and disasters.
This includes the UK taking urgent action to provide safe legal routes for children fleeing conflict and persecution, so that children are not forced to risk their lives on dangerous crossings or put themselves into the hands of traffickers and smugglers.
Head over to Unicef UK to find out more.