Every child has the right to live free from violence, exploitation and abuse.
The protracted crisis has caused severe disruption in the formal and informal protection services provided to children causing many of them to become increasingly more vulnerable.
In Syria, it is estimated that 5.3 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection needs.. Child protection concerns that have been identified are related to documentation, child labour, early marriage and psychosocial stress. The number of children with disabilities has also increased with limited access to services they require.
The report of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, covering the period between November 2013 and June 2018, has verified 12,537 grave violations against children. 706 cases involve other issues of concern affecting children, such as deprivation of liberty and the military use of schools and hospitals. By the end of the reporting period, the United Nations had verified 1,291 grave violations against children committed in the first half of 2018.
Some of the key challenges facing children in Syria include:
- The crisis has caused the emergence of numerous unaccompanied and separated children or children living with older/disabled caregivers, increasing the risk of exposure to violence.
- Experiencing conflict and displacement has caused possibly caused chronic psychosocial distress to many children in Syria, affecting the emotional and social (psychosocial) wellbeing of children and adolescents.
- The drastic increase in outof-school children and the increase in child labour, child marriage and child recruitment.
- Protracted and multiple displacements because of the conflict leading to a larger exposure to violence.
- The immediate and longterm risks of indiscriminate injury and/or death of explosive weapons including all types of conventional weapons and mines.
- Challenges related to birth registration of children due to time and status constraints caused by the conflict.
- Lack of proper protection standards in temporary centres, shelters and juvenile centres.
- The lack of capacity of national institutions supporting child rights and protection mechanisms as a result of the disintegration in civil and social structures.
UNICEF improves access to quality child protection services by investing in a combination of prevention and response strategies that enhance the resilience of children and communities.
Strengthening community-based child protection and psychosocial interventions as a first-line emergency response to mitigate protection risks.
- Strengthening the capacity of national child protection actors critical in the efforts to reach vulnerable children.
- We advocate to ensure that policy and legislative frameworks are child friendly, and that children victims or perpetrators benefit from a functional ‘justice for children’ programme.
- We engage and increase communities’ capacities to protect children, through monitoring, community dialogue and behavioural change.
- We work with other UNICEF programmes,, such as ADAP, Education, Social Protection, WASH and Health and Nutrition to ensure a functional referral system.