Children’s lives and wellbeing at risk in Ukraine

24 February 2022

We are deeply concerned by the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine which is putting the lives and wellbeing of children at risk.   

Dr Unni Krishnan, Global Humanitarian Director, Plan International said:

“Our thoughts are with the children and young people of Ukraine today and we are concerned for their lives and wellbeing. We are deeply saddened to see the shocking escalation of the conflict and heavy weapons fire and join the international call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.  

This conflict poses a major threat to life and will cause further suffering to the people of Ukraine. 

“This conflict poses a major threat to life and will cause further suffering to the people of Ukraine.

“We urge all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, and ensure the protection of children from harm. At no time, must any parties attack the facilities that children need such as health services, schools, water and the vital supplies of power that are needed to keep children warm.”  

Families must be allowed to seek refuge

Families who are forced to leave their homes must be allowed to seek refuge and support. All countries must commit to their obligations under the UN Convention on Refugees. The principle of non-refoulement must be respected meaning that no one should be returned to a country where they would face harm.  

The escalation of hostilities is taking a heavy toll on the physical and mental wellbeing and living standards of children, women and others who are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.  

Protection, including child protection and the prevention of gender-based violence, access to water, food and health services, and education are among the greatest needs, especially for families displaced from their homes. Military escalation could lead to an increase in trafficking of people, especially women and children. Plan International urges all authorities concerned to respect the human rights of children and humanitarian access for organisations providing support for communities in the impacted areas.