Attacks on children in Ukraine must stop, with safe passage for all

2 March 2022

The humanitarian crisis faced by children caught up in the Ukraine conflict is multiplying by the hour and children are at risk.

Stephen Omollo, Chief Executive of Plan International, said:

“The humanitarian crisis faced by children caught up in the Ukraine conflict is multiplying by the hour. Each day of continued fighting means countless more lives, homes and childhoods uprooted. Children will bear these wounds – both visible and invisible – long after the fighting has stopped.

“For their sake, it is crucial to find an immediate ceasefire before more lives are lost.

“We are gravely concerned by reports of violations of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate. Children have the right to live without fear that a rocket will come through their bedroom. All parties to any conflict must respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. We welcome the ICC Prosecutor’s investigation into the situation in Ukraine. The targeting of civilian infrastructure, including apartment buildings, hospitals, and schools, must also end. Children’s homes and communities should never be a target of war.

“As the situation continues to deteriorate, children and their families need to be able to reach a place of safety. We are deeply concerned by reports of young people of colour and non-Ukrainians facing discrimination, racism and acts of violence while fleeing their homes and at some of the country’s border posts.

“Discrimination has no place in any humanitarian response. We stand in solidarity with everyone whose lives are being torn apart by the conflict in Ukraine. In line with international law, standards and conventions, all people affected by conflict have the right to protection, without discrimination on the basis of race, religion, country of origin, sex, age, ability, sexuality or other perceived differences. Treatment at borders must be equitable, prioritising the most vulnerable.

“Plan International has missions present and already underway to Moldova, Romania and Poland to assess how best we can support children and their families. We will work with organisations who are present already, working around the clock to ensure there is immediate help for children and their families as they cross the border from Ukraine.

“We call on authorities in Ukraine, transit and host countries, organisations providing much needed humanitarian aid and the population at large to commit themselves to the humanitarian principle of humanity and to reject any form of discrimination of the affected populations based on perceived differences.”