As the war in Ukraine approaches its 100th day, a statement by Unicef released on Wednesday, 1 June, reports the “devastating consequences” it has had on children, describing it as being on a “scale and speed not seen since World War II”. According to the report, “three million children inside Ukraine and over 2.2 million children in refugee-hosting countries are now in need of humanitarian assistance”. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has verified reports confirming that “on average more than two children are killed and more than four injured each day in Ukraine”, mostly as the result of the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. Unicef expressed particular concern for the condition of children in the eastern and southern part of the country where fighting has intensified.
The statement also reports that the infrastructure “on which children depend continues to be damaged or destroyed”, including “at least 256 health facilities and one in six Unicef -supported ‘Safe Schools’ in the country’s east”. Also of serious concern is the acute child protection crisis, as “children fleeing violence are at significant risk of family separation, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking”.
“June 1st is International Day for the Protection of Children in Ukraine and across the region. Instead of celebrating the occasion, we are solemnly approaching June 3 — the 100th day of a war that has shattered the lives of millions of children”, said Unicef Executive Director Catherine Russell. She warned that without a ceasefire, children will continue to suffer “and fallout from the war will impact vulnerable children throughout the world”.
As it renews its calls for a ceasefire, Unicef is “appealing for full humanitarian access to safely and quickly reach children in need wherever they may be”.