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4 May 2016 - Today Unicef UK ambassador Tom Hiddleston met with the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening and pupils from Hampstead School, London. A discussion took place about the UK’s role in keeping children safe in humanitarian emergencies.

Pupils shared their views on what they think is important 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.

Unicef UK Ambassador Tom Hiddleston said: "Children are facing more devastating wars and disasters than ever before. 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.

“Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children now live in countries affected by crisis. Every single one of these children should be at school and learning. Education is a vital source of safety and hope for children, allowing them to learn, play and escape the horrors of war and disasters.

“At the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time, a ground-breaking new fund will be launched to get vital education to every child in need. We must make sure that education in emergencies is prioritised, otherwise a generation of children living in conflict and natural disasters will grow up without the skills they need to contribute to their countries and economies, exacerbating the already desperate situation for millions of children and their families. We must invest in their futures now.”

Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening said: “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. 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.

“I’ll be taking many of the views I have heard today to the World Humanitarian Summit later this month when I discuss with world leaders how the international community can better respond to crises around the globe.”

Nearly a quarter of the world’s school-aged children – 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 - 75 million - have been identified as the most in danger of missing out on getting a quality education.

--ENDS--

Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the Unicef UK Press Office on +44 (0)20 7375 6030 or media@unicef.org.uk

About Unicef

Unicef is the world’s leading organisation for children, promoting 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 to protect children in danger, transform their lives and build a safer world for tomorrow’s children.  As a registered charity we raise funds through donations from individuals, organisations and companies and we lobby and campaign to keep children safe. Unicef UK also runs programmes in schools, hospitals and with local authorities in the UK. For more information please visit unicef.org.uk