Tom talks child protection with young campaigners

A couple of days ago, a group of young campaigners at the Hampstead School in London put their questions to actor Tom Hiddleston and Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening about the UK’s role in keeping children safe in humanitarian emergencies, as part of our ongoing campaign. Our gallery has been updated with images from the event, and you can read the official UNICEF post below.

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“Children are facing more devastating wars and disasters than ever before,” said Tom, a Unicef UK Ambassador. “I have seen for myself in South Sudan that children are the hardest hit in emergencies. Children have been killed, orphaned, forced to become soldiers, kidnapped, and traumatised.”

Pupils shared what they thought the priorities should be in the lead up to the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time. Top of their minds was the refugee crisis, protecting schools in war zones, and ensuring children’s rights and voices are recognised, regardless of their situation or background.

Last year the students had been involved in OutRight – a week of activities around Universal Children’s Day celebrating and promoting children’s rights – where they looked at how children’s rights are affected by humanitarian emergencies. Today, they were handing letters and drawings from OutRight participants across the country to Justine, on behalf of the UK Government, to prioritise protecting children in emergencies.

“When I speak to young people I am struck by how passionate they are about international issues, and today’s debate with pupils at Hampstead School was no exception, ” said Justine. “At DFID we put young people at the heart of everything we do, whether it is supporting Syrian refugees to get an education, eradicating poverty, or improving access to healthcare and jobs in some of the poorest countries in the world.”

Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children – that’s 462 million – now live in countries affected by crisis. Education is a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war and disasters. One in six of these children is in danger of missing out on a quality education.

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