November 20th is the Universal Children's Day. It is a day to promote the welfare of the children of the world. Everyone was a child once. But not everyone has sweet childhood memories to cherish.
Children are the most affected by humanitarian crises. They are both particularly vulnerable and particularly exposed, often without resources of their own or protection. Children suffer disproportionately from malnourishment and illness. Every 8 to 12 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related causes. Children are also particularly at risk in case of conflicts: they form a large proportion of conflict victims, sometimes long after the conflict is over because of antipersonnel mines; children are also easy prey for recruitment by armed groups for sexual exploitation, forced labour and international trafficking.
The European Commission attaches great importance to the welfare of children around the world. This is the reason why we take into account specific needs of children in every humanitarian action we carry. Our aid must guarantee children survival, providing them food, safe water and sanitation, basic healthcare, but it should also allow children to pursue their development and dreams. Long-lasting crises have devastating effect on children, creating "lost generations" that grow up in perpetuating violence or instability. The European Commission is committed to give children around a world a chance to grow in a stable and safe environment.
In Eastern Chad, the European Commission is supporting UNHCR and its partners to ensure that children's essential needs are met in the refugee camps of Djabal, Treguine, Bredjing, Gaga and Oure Cassoni. First and foremost, the priority goes to insuring security, which remains precarious in refugees' camps. Protecting civilians, and in particular children and girls children, from forced recruitment and sexual abuse is imperative. In the Health Center, in Treguine, children are weighted and checked up to make sure that there are not malnourished. Water systems are installed, with taps in the schoolyards, to avoid diarrhoea due to unsafe water. It is also very important for refugee children to have children's activities, such as going to school and playing.
Millions of children are exposed to conflict, violence and abuse. The European Commission is committed to making their voice heard on the Universal Children's day and on every other day of the year. The Nobel Peace Prize recently awarded to the EU will be dedicated to the benefit of children in war and conflict zones.