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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article28 September 2022Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Children in armed conflict: Commissioner Lenarčič presents achievements and challenges at 14th European Forum on the Rights of the Child

Commissioner Lenarčič
© European Union, 2019 (photographer: Lukasz Kobus)

Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič is delivering opening remarks on 28 September 2022, the second day of the 14th European Forum on the Rights of the Child.

The event is organised by the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers of the European Commission, focusing on children in armed conflicts.

2 years ago, the EU adopted its first strategy on the Rights of the Child, including a clear commitment by the EU to support children affected by armed conflict.

Commenting on the progress made to-date and the challenges ahead, Commissioner Lenarčič stressed: “The situation of children in armed conflict is dire all over the world, from Myanmar to the Sahel, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Colombia. Since Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, the plight of children caught in armed conflict was brought again back to Europe. The EU is doing a lot in terms of rights of the child but the challenges remain. Too many children are still victims of grave violations: Countless children are being used by armed groups; Many are victims of sexual violence; Children are being abducted and taken away from their families; Schools and hospitals are being attacked; And children and families are too often being denied access to humanitarian assistance, in violation of international humanitarian law. The perpetrators too often don’t see justice.”

“This is why we will continue to advance the agenda on Children in Armed Conflict, including with the ongoing assessment of the EU’s guidelines on children in armed conflict, dating from 2008. As the EU, we want to ensure that the guidelines reflect the changing nature of conflict and crises. However, to succeed in such efforts we need everyone to join forces with us – the Member States, civil society organisations, experts and of course children themselves,” Commissioner Lenarčič explained.

Other participants in the event include a child from Juba, South Sudan, and UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict Ms Virginia Gamba.