In Ukraine, hundreds of boys and girls have been killed or seriously injured by gunfire, shelling, or mine explosions. Adolescent girls are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and abuse. Some children have even been taken away from their parents. Everyone is a victim of profound trauma. This shatters the lives of today's children and jeopardises the future of tomorrow's adults. At the time of the Lugano consultations on the reconstruction of Ukraine, the Swiss child relief organisation Terre des hommes is taking a stand on the necessity to consider the fate of all these children and to help them participate in this reconstruction. Terre des hommes’s immediate response in Ukraine and neighbouring countries has prioritised child protection. Both in border countries and in western Ukraine, our multidisciplinary teams assess and respond to the needs of children, youth and families, who are temporarily living in reception and transit centres as well as in communities. As the war continues, tailored psychological support is a key component of long-term recovery plans. «We have to protect children from the horrors of war, ensuring essential care and assistance, education, prohibition of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Any form of abuse or neglect must be avoided. Ensuring humanitarian access to children is a priority. Investing in children’s mental health and psychological well-being should remain a cornerstone in recovery efforts,» claims Barbara Hintermann, Director General of Terre des hommes.
As the leading Swiss organisation in child protection, we ask all parties gathering for the URC (Ukraine Recovery Conference) 2022 in Lugano the 4th and 5th July to remember: even though the lives of Ukrainian children and families have been torn apart by war, the recovery of Ukraine will be fuelled by their strength and resilience. By standing and acting alongside them, and in their best interests, we can be allies in piecing together the broken fragments of their lives, and to restoring hope for the next generation. Therefore, we urge all stakeholders to ensure that the respect and protection of children’s rights, while responding to their immediate humanitarian needs, remain at the forefront of the Ukraine Recovery and Development Plan. The Terre des hommes Foundation (Tdh) is the leading Swiss organisation for children's aid. In 2021, we supported two million children and members of their communities around the world with a focus on mother and child health, migration and access to justice for children. We trained people who in turn supported a further 3.1 million children and members of their communities. www.tdh.ch