Heads of WHO and UNICEF join call for greater access to Syrian children

The UN agencies in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative sign open letter calling on all parties to the Syrian conflict to allow aid to reach children

20140123_Syria

Two children in a kindergarten Arabic class compete to answer the teacher’s question.
© UNICEF Syria/2013/Shehzad Noorani

22 January 2014 – Against the backdrop of peace talks on Syria which opened today in Switzerland, senior United Nations humanitarian officials have joined international aid organizations calling for the protection of Syrian children, 11,000 of whom have been killed and 4 million forced to flee their homes over the past three years.

“We believe the time has come to urgently focus on the plight of children,” read the open letter  signed by 15 high-ranking officials, including Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); and Margaret Chan Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The signatories call on the parties to commit to a three-point protection plan: do not prevent live-saving aid from reaching children; do not target or allow military use of schools or health facilities; and do not use explosive weapons in populated areas.

This has particular resonance in the area of polio, where the disease re-appeared in the country after a 14-year absence. WHO and its partners need full access to all the country’s children in order to stop the disease in its tracks.

Read the open letter


Related News

   14/09/2021
Update on polio eradication efforts in Pakistan for August 2021
   14/09/2021
GPEI joins the 5-year action journey to achieve irreversible progress towards gender equality
   27/08/2021
Three polio survivors from Mozambique, Congo and Ethiopia share their experiences of living with the effects of disease, and their hope for a polio-free world.
   27/08/2021
Learn how the type 2 novel oral polio vaccine (nOPV2) is being rolled out across Africa to help more sustainably address outbreaks of a non-wild form of polio, cVDPV2, and protect children across the continent.
   27/08/2021
Despite success against wild polio in the African region, outbreaks of the non-wild form of polio, cVDPV2, continue. With continued country commitment to eradication, a future where no child in Africa is paralysed by the virus is possible.