Statement attributable to Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and Northern Africa
“UNICEF is following with grave concern the situation of some 140 Kurdish schoolboys between 14 and 16 years old who were reportedly kidnapped in northern Syria last month by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“All of them, with the exception of four who escaped, are still in captivity. It has been over four weeks since the children were abducted as they returned to their hometown of Ayn al-Arab, after taking their junior high school final exams in Aleppo.
“These children have nothing to do with the war raging in Syria. They just wanted to finish their exams and go back to their families.
“The abduction, recruitment and use of children in hostilities are grave child rights violations.
“UNICEF expresses its deepest solidarity with the families of the abducted children. Those who commit such crimes must be held accountable.
“It is disheartening and inconceivable that children have to endure such brutal acts of violence and be forced to participate in this war.”
Notes to editors:
For further information, please contact: Claire Blackburn, UNICEF UK, + 44 (0)20 7375 6261 ClaireB@unicef.org.uk
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk