UNICEF concerned about the threats to safety and well-being of children in Zamboanga City
MANILA, 21 September 2013 - UNICEF today expressed concerns about the plight of an estimated 90,000 children affected by armed conflict in Zamboanga City including 47,000 children who have been displaced. Both the figures are estimated based on the national average percentage of the below-18-year-old population.
"We condemn in the strongest terms any action undertaken in conflict situations that violates children's rights. Children have a right to special protection under international law, and every measure must be taken to ensure their protection," UNICEF Philippines Representative Tomoo Hozumi says.
The Philippine Government and other organisations have been taking special actions to address the needs of the affected population including children by providing special services and supplies, water, food, hygiene facilities, health services, shelter and psychosocial support. UNICEF has provided hygiene and water kits to protect children from diseases, while tents that will serve as temporary learning spaces are being delivered. However, reports from the affected areas indicate that more needs to be done to protect children's rights and ensure their well-being. Action must be taken continually to:
UNICEF and its partners are determined to assist in the provision of these protections as quickly as possible.
"All children have the right to grow and develop to their fullest potential, and they can only do this if they are free from fear, are healthy and well-nourished, and have access to schooling and play. The increased threats and additional risks facing children affected by the armed conflict in Zamboanga demand the immediate attention of everyone involved and must be addressed as a matter of real urgency," Hozumi adds.