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Geneva talks critical for the protection of millions of children, says World Vision

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GENEVA (January 21, 2014) — As the international community prepares to meet in Geneva this week to negotiate a peaceful political solution to the conflict in Syria, World Vision is urging all participants to remember their responsibilities to children.

“Millions of Syrian children have been suffering as a result of this three-year conflict. This is unacceptable. Unless we all take responsibility in our respective leadership positions for what’s happening and act now, we are at risk of losing an entire generation of children,” said Conny Lennenberg, World Vision’s Regional Leader for the Middle East. “The Geneva II peace talks present an opportunity for the international community to show real commitment to protecting Syria’s children.”

More than 100,000 people have been killed during the three year conflict, at least 11,000 of whom are children. It is estimated that 4.3 million Syrian children are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance within Syria and another 1.2 million have been displaced to countries within the region. The humanitarian need has precipitated the largest humanitarian appeal in recent history and the protracted nature of the crisis has overwhelmed the resources of host governments. The totality of need highlights just how urgent it is for all parties to come together to negotiate a lasting peace.

World Vision, which has been responding to the crisis since May 2011, sees the Geneva talks as a critical opportunity to highlight the steps needed to protect the most vulnerable from ongoing atrocities. While lasting peace in Syria is the ultimate goal, World Vision urges all parties to the conflict and all governments with influence to commit to meeting the most basic humanitarian needs of children affected by this conflict.

“As all parties take this positive step toward negotiating long-term solutions to the conflict in Syria, we need all of them to agree upon a minimum set of commitments to protect children. We demand that children stop being targeted, tortured, neglected and denied access to life-saving aid in Syria. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including many children, and on their schools, hospitals and play areas, need to end immediately,” Lenneberg said. World Vision has just released a new report, “Children’s rights, wronged”, highlighting child protection concerns for Syrian children. It can be downloaded here.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.