GENEVA / COI SYRIA

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16-Jan-2020 00:02:23
Children in Syria have been “robbed of their childhood” and forced to “endure numerous violations” in more than eight years of conflict, according to the latest report by the independent body set up by the UN’s Human Rights Council to investigate violations during the civil war in Syria. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / COI SYRIA
TRT: 2:23
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 JANUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior, flag alley, Palais des Nations, United Nations Geneva.
2. Med shot, podium
3. Wide shot, press briefing room
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“The report covers multiple violations in the period from September 2011 to October 2019. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, children have been denied the protection they are entitled to under international law and victimized on multiple levels. Countless girls and boys have been killed and maimed in attacks carried out by all parties to the conflict.”
5. Med shot, podium
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Boys as young as six have been recruited to participate in hostilities by warring parties, while rape and sexual violence have been used against girls and boys to punish, humiliate and instill fear. In detention, children have been used to extract confession from their parents, subjected to torture and ill-treatment, while consistently denied from accessing food, water and medical care.”
7. Wide shot, press briefing room, journalists
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Children are dying - many lacks civil documentation and in the case of other camps for displaced civilians, are effectively stateless, with the majority of them having missed school for a number of years.”
9. Close up, journalist
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Karen Abuzayd, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Sometimes there are reports even of young children being made to hang other young children to execute them in that way. So again, are the children responsible for war crimes? How are we going to handle this?”
11. Close up, camera
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Hanny Megally, Member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic:
“Children have been displaced as have their families several times to get to Idlib and now they are being displaced again as the fighting has escalated. I think the number overall has gone up to about 700,000 over the last ten days or so which shows the level of escalation in the violence and there is a real concern that preventable deaths are going to be continuing to happen.”
13. Wide shot, press room
14. Med shot, podium
15. Med shot, journalists, cameras

STORYLINE:

Children in Syria have been “robbed of their childhood” and forced to “endure numerous violations” in more than eight years of conflict, according to the latest report by the independent body set up by the UN’s Human Rights Council to investigate violations during the civil war in Syria.

Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, told reporters today ( 16 Jan) on behalf of the three-member group, “children have been denied the protection they are entitled to under international law, and victimized on multiple levels,” adding that “countless girls and boys have been killed and maimed in attacks carried out by all parties to the conflict.”

The 25-page report, released today in Geneva, is entitled “They have erased the dreams of my children: children's rights in the Syrian Arab Republic”, and notes that attacks on civilian infrastructure have had an acute impact on physical health, in particular for those children who suffer from disabilities because of the war.

Pinheiro noted as he read a part of the report, “boys as young as six have been recruited to participate in hostilities by warring parties,” adding that “while rape and sexual violence have been used against girls to punish, humiliate and instill fear. In detention, children have been used to extract confession from their parents, subjected to torture and ill-treatment, while consistently denied from accessing food, water and medical care.”

The report says that children’s right to education in Syria has been denied by all parties to the conflict as warring parties have looted and vandalized educational establishments and used schools for military purposes.

The conflict has left an enormous trauma on the physical and mental well-being of an entire generation of Syrian girls and boys but also destroyed the social, economic and cultural fabric required for Syrian communities to start healing, the report states.

Pinheiro noted, “children are dying - many lack civil documentation and in the case of other camps for displaced civilians, are effectively stateless, with the majority of them having missed school for a number of years.”

Karen Abuzayd, a member of the Commission said, “young children being made to hang other young children, to execute them in that way,” while calling attention to the difficulty of pursuing such crimes or tackling the issue of impunity.

She asked, “are the children responsible for war crimes? How are we going to handle this?”

More than five million children have been displaced by the conflict in Syria, and have become increasingly vulnerable to violations as a result. These children are living in situations of protracted displacement, often with severed family ties, and are worryingly “being displaced again as the fighting has escalated,” according to Hanny Megally, also a member of the Commission.

Megally said, the number of displaced children “has gone up to about 700,000 over the last ten days or so, which shows the level of escalation in the violence and there is a real concern that preventable deaths are going to be continuing to happen.”

Among the recommendations to the Government of Syria and other key actors, the Commission urges respect for the special protection children are entitled to under international humanitarian and human rights law, and to ensure accountability for violations that have occurred. The Commission also makes a series of recommendations aimed at increasing the support for children who have suffered abuses.
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