Every war is a war against children.

Written by Eglantyne Jebb, who founded Save the Children one hundred years ago, these words are a call to action for our generation.

The War in Yemen has led to one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises

Many children are routinely subjected to appalling acts of violence, including killing, maiming, and sexual violence. Many more are treated as ‘collateral damage’ in general onslaughts that fail to protect children. Children in desperate need of food, care and help are denied humanitarian aid. Failure to protect schools and schoolchildren has resulted in classrooms becoming a target.

Fundamental human rights and international laws designed to protect vulnerable children from the anguish and destruction of war are violated with impunity.


As people of many countries, cultures and beliefs, we demand that the war on children must stop. The time has come to shatter the culture of impunity surrounding those who commit crimes against the world’s children – our children.

Children are our present, our future and our hope for rebuilding societies broken by war. No child should be subjected to the fear and trauma that come with armed conflict. And every child has the right to protection – a right grounded in shared morality and underpinned by human rights.

Mother and child


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Individually and collectively, we are committed to working for a world in which

All children are protected against killing and maiming

Schools and health centres are treated as zones of peace and safety

Every child is protected from rape and sexual violence

No child is recruited into armed forces or groups

All children are safe from abduction, arbitrary detention and forced displacement from their homes

No child is denied access to humanitarian aid, irrespective of whether the conflict is national or international

VIolations of the rights of children to protection in war are rigorously monitored, reported and acted upon

Those committing, overseeing and ordering attacks on children are held accountable for their actions and brought to justice

Every child harmed by conflict receives practical help, protection and support to recover and rebuild their lives

All children affected by conflict, including refugees and those internally displaced, are able to continue their education

The war on children must stop.

We call on every government and every armed group to endorse these principles, and to affirm and adhere to international laws, human rights provisions and standards of military conduct designed to protect children.

Eglantyne Jebb also said “The only international language in the world is a child’s cry.”

We have heard that cry and it will not go unanswered.


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