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On the 20th November Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
Joint statement from the Kosovo Children's Group

The current situation in Kosovo is a cause of concern for all people everywhere. Civilians, including children, have been killed and injured during the conflict. So far at least 193 children have been killed or have died as a result of armed conflict. Tens of thousands of families were displaced from their homes, often with nowhere to go or shelter to return to. Moreover, children risk losing their lives or becoming seriously disabled due to the presence of mines and non-exploded devices in areas frequented by them. Finally, violence, displacements and insecurity may deeply affect the psychological development of children.

The outcome of the recent negotiations hopefully will result in a more secure environment for children, as well as the return of displaced and refugee families.

We know from experience that conflict always affects children most heavily. More than half the population of Kosovo is made up of children, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as “every human being below the age of 18 years”. Children are the first victims of the conflict in Kosovo.

The members of the Kosovo Children’s Group share the belief that all children have a right to be protected from the effects of this conflict, whoever they are. United in this belief, Albanian and Serbian organisations have come together to do all they can for all the children of Kosovo, from all ethnic groups and without discrimination.

The Kosovo Children’s Group (KCG) consists of the following organisations:

Alternativa (Pristina), Centre for Protection of Women and Children (Pristina), Council for Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (Pristina), Elena (Pristina), Friends of Children of Serbia (Belgrade), Helsinki Committee Serbia (Belgrade), Helsinki Committee Kosovo (Pristina), Humanitarian Law Centre (Belgrade), MOST (Belgrade), Post-pessimists (Pristina), Yugoslav Child Rights Centre (Belgrade)

The International Supporters of the Kosovo Children’s Group are: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Save the Children Fund (UK), Unicef. Save the Children Fund was chosen by the Coalition as the facilitator of the KCG.

The Kosovo Children’s Group, as a non-political and humanitarian coalition, believes that children must not pay the price of the wars of adults. Therefore, the Kosovo Children’s Group, in furtherance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, calls on all people to recognise that children’s welfare is above politics or ethnicity. Everyone has a responsibility to all the children of Kosovo to ensure their protection and make the implementation of their human rights a reality.

The Kosovo Children’s Group will do all it can to achieve this end. It hopes and expects that all those with the power to protect children in Kosovo will do the same.

For further information on the Kosovo Children’s Group contact:

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