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

   25/10/2022
We are close to making polio the second human disease to be eradicated, but what will it take to finally consign this killer disease to the history books?
   24/10/2022
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) stands tall on the foundation of millions of women’s efforts and voices.
   21/10/2022
Together, we end polio!
   18/10/2022
More than 3000 scientists and health experts from 115 countries urge the world to fully fund eradication strategy following resurgence of disease