Statement: War Child Calls for Immediate Ceasefire

Oct. 13, 2023

A Child Never Starts A War: War Child Statement
The world has stood in horror at the events in Israel and Gaza since 7 October. Children and families caught up in the violence have been killed and abducted. Indiscriminate rockets and bombs have killed civilians and destroyed vital infrastructure. Read our statement on the escalating crisis.

Children in Israel and Gaza are profoundly traumatised by the violence that is taking place. They are facing terrifying risks and will continue to experience the appalling long-term effects of exposure to violence including anxiety and depression. Physical and mental scars devastate childhood and severely limit child development. The threat of more violence is looming. The responsibility to prevent civilian casualties lies foremost with Israel, Hamas and the other armed actors involved.

All states and armed actors are bound by international humanitarian law (IHL). They must protect civilian lives and civilian buildings including schools and hospitals. It is in the common interest of all states to promote respect for and compliance with IHL. The killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals and abduction are grave violations of children's rights and prohibited under international law.

Donors must continue to support the humanitarian needs of civilians and children in Gaza. After 16 years of blockade, 80% of Gaza’s 2.2 million people relied on humanitarian aid before the current crisis. Half of them are children. The ongoing violence, denial of food and water and damage to critical infrastructure will result in untold human suffering.

Humanitarian corridors must be established, humanitarian organisations and staff must be guaranteed safe and unimpeded access and donors must commit to meeting collective obligations to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

War Child calls for an immediate ceasefire to allow unimpeded access for humanitarian personnel and supplies to civilians. All states must unequivocally condemn all abuses committed against civilians including grave violations against children. We call on all parties to immediately end such abuses and violations.

We call on states to demand respect for obligations under international law, and to demand accountability for serious violations. This includes IHL, international human rights law and all relevant resolutions of the Security Council regarding the protection of civilians, civilian objects and children in armed conflict.

We believe no child should be part of war. Ever.