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International organizations call for more assistance to children affected by mines and explosive remnants of war

UNICEF: According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 200,000 children live in a 20 km zone on both sides of the separation line, which is heavily contaminated by mines and other explosive remnants of war (ERW).

Since 2014, at least 128 children have been injured by mines, ammunition and other explosive remnants of war (ERW). At least 38 children were killed.

Danish Refugee Council – The Danish Mine Action Team (DRS-DGR) together with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) presented the research results of the Needs Assessment of Children Affected by Mines or Explosive Remnants of War.

“It is necessary to take my kid to Kyiv every three months. The operation is not yet possible. The money is borrowed. Earlier I used to have a job, but now I can’t, because I constantly have to help my son to wash, to take something, to eat. Now I can’t get a job… This is life. It will never end now,” says the mother of a 13-year-old boy.

“Helping victims is one of the most important elements of mine action. Even after the end of the conflict and the elimination of the last mine, the affected family and their children still need protection and support on their way to recovery. Injured children often do not have sustainable access to medical, psychological and comprehensive rehabilitation services. This problem is particularly urgent for families in rural areas,” said Krista Zongolovic, Head of the Representative Office of the DRS-DWG in Ukraine.

Based on the research conducted by HRD-DGR and UNICEF, together with the Office of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights, they developed recommendations to strengthen assistance to families affected by mines or explosive remnants of war. In particular, it is recommended to pay attention to the opportunities for international expertise to provide children with high quality prostheses, as well as ongoing medical and psychological care and affordable and inclusive services. It is equally important to develop an appropriate legal framework to ensure the rights of victims.

Photo: © UNICEF/2019/ Filippov