Heads of UN relief agencies call for protection of Syrian children

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Syrian children. Credit: UNICEF/UKLA2012-00867/KARIN SKERMBRUCKER

Leaders of United Nations humanitarian agencies and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have called on Syrian parties meeting in Switzerland to take urgent action to protect Syrian children.

In a letter written ahead of the meeting, which opened in Montreux on Wednesday, they say over 11,000 Syrian children have already lost their lives.

"From shelling of residential areas to attacks on schools and hospitals, children are being targeted" the letter points out.

The heads of UN agencies also say that more than four million children have been forced to flee their homes, including over one million who have fled the country altogether.

They say "many children are traumatized, hungry and in urgent need of shelter and protection".

"Scandalously" they add, "aid cannot reach the children who need it most".

The leaders of UN humanitarian agencies and Archbishop Tutu urge participants in the Syria conference not to target children and to commit to a three-point plan to protect them.

The plan calls for not preventing life-saving aid from reaching children, not targeting or allowing military use of schools or health facilities and not to use explosive weapons in populated areas.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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