Iceland delivered today a statement on behalf of the Nordic countries during the 37th session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva in which the effect of the appalling humanitarian situation in Syria on children was emphasized.
Nordic comments on Syria (panel discussion on human rights of children in Syria)
13 March 2018 - Human Rights Council
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland.
The already appalling humanitarian situation in Syria, in particular Eastern Ghouta, has deteriorated significantly. As a direct result, thousands of children have been killed or maimed, or suffer from acute malnourishment and profound trauma.
We have all been shocked by horrible footage of desperately ill and wounded children needing immediate evacuation from the hell they have been made to suffer.
There is no group as vulnerable as children. Their suffering is particularly devastating because they represent the future. Despite the protection provided by international law, children are often separated from their families, driven from their homes, sexually abused or exploited in other ways. Syrian girls are now more vulnerable to child marriage; and access to basic services, like reproductive healthcare, is limited.
It is unacceptable that schools are increasingly becoming targets of violent attacks. Too many Syrian children are out of school or have lost long periods of learning. All parties must ensure that schools remain open and a safe space for students.
The Nordic countries call on all parties to the conflict, in particular the regime, to stop the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure and to ensure the protection of children. We further urge all parties, in particular the regime and its allies, to fully and immediately implement and respect Security Council resolution 2401 and cease all hostilities and ensure safe, sustained and unimpeded humanitarian access, as well as safe and unconditional medical evacuation of all those in need.
I thank you.