One of the greatest crimes perpetrated by the Assad regime against the people of Syria is the damage it has inflicted on children.
One of the greatest crimes perpetrated by the Assad regime against the people of Syria is the damage it has inflicted on children. Three years into the conflict, some 10,000 children have been killed, and thousands more wounded and disabled by the violence, with the rest in danger of becoming a lost generation.
1,200,000 Syrian children have been forced to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring countries. At the same time, three million children inside Syria are out of school. In both cases, many are homeless, destitute, uprooted from their familiar surroundings, and have been witness to the brutality of war.
Of the 9.3 million people that are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance in Syria 5.5 million are children, more than twice as many as last year. Thousands of children from Syria are working to help support their families. Girls have been forced into early marriage. Boys, many of them barely into their teens, have been recruited to support the fighting.
Syria cannot afford to lose its children. Compromising the future of their children means compromising the future of the country. To help avert this crisis, the United States government has joined UNICEF, UNHCR, Save the Children, World Vision and other aid agencies and NGOs in the No Lost Generation initiative, which addresses the immediate and long-term impacts of the Syria crisis on a generation of children and youth in Syria and the Near East region.
The No Lost Generation initiative calls for robust support from the international community to provide protection from exploitation, abuse and violence, and psychological care for trauma affected children and youth both inside Syria and in the region.
These programs include strengthening host government and community-based child protection systems, which respond to the needs of girls, boys and families at high risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence while helping protect all children against such risks.
The initiative will also scale up access to quality education for refugee children who have fled Syria, and for school-age children who remain inside the country. Programs supported through the initiative will provide remedial education and psychological support organized in school clubs for pre-schoolers and out-of-school children.
The United States stands with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres when he states that “without these urgent investments, millions of Syrian children may never recover from so much loss and fear. Their future, and the future of their nation, is at stake.”