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UN Committee on the Rights of the Child appalled by killing of Syrian children in alleged chemical attack

GENEVA (26 AUGUST 2013) - The alleged chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, Damascus, that reportedly killed more than 300 civilians, including many children, is a tragic and horrifying example of how Syrian children are paying the ultimate price in the conflict, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has said.

“This atrocity is a gross violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Committee Chairperson Kirsten Sandberg. “It is a shocking example of how children’s rights are being violated as the Syrian conflict deepens, first and foremost the right to life.”

“Whoever committed these killings, as well as all those responsible for other crimes committed against Syrian children, should be held accountable,” said Ms Sandberg on behalf of the Committee.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child applies at all times, Ms Sandberg said, highlighting that more than 7000 children have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, and many more injured.

“The Committee joins the call by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to all parties in the conflict to stop targeting civilians,” she added.

In 2011, during a regular review of Syria’s implementation of the Convention, the Committee detailed a series of violations of the rights of the country’s children, especially the right to life and security and to freedom from torture and ill-treatment. In May 2012, the Committee publicly denounced the El Houleh massacre in which 108 people, including 49 children, died.

The 18-member Committee on the Rights of the Child monitors implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been ratified by 193 states, making it the most widely ratified UN human rights treaty.

The Committee indicated it would be assessing the situation of Syrian children during its next session which begins on 16 September.

ENDS

For more information on SYRIA go to:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/SYIndex.aspx

For more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child:
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/index.htm

Convention on the Rights of the Child:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CRC.aspx

For interview requests, please contact Allegra Franchetti (+41 22 917 9340/ afranchetti@ohchr.org)

For further information, please contact Liz Throssell – Media Officer, UN Human Rights Office (+ 41 22 917 9434 / ethrossell@ohchr.org)

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