The first regional conference dedicated to the protection of refugee children and adolescents was inaugurated Wednesday under the patronage and in the presence of Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The two-day conference is hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), in partnership with the Big Heart for Syrian Refugee Children Campaign.
In his opening speech, Dr. Sheikh Al Qasimi confirmed convening conferences on the protection of children and adolescents is not new, as the matter is directly related to human nature and high human values adopted by all peoples of the world.
"Those conferences have resulted in many international conventions, legislations and local laws which highlight the rights of children and young adults to be protected from assault from all types and sources," he said.
"Children need comprehensive care, especially cultural, healthcare and educational care, so that they grow up safely and contribute to the creation of the future and prosperity of their communities wherever they are," he added.
"Unfortunately, due to the current different and changing circumstances in many countries of the world, particularly in our region in the last few years, we now find millions of children, young adults and women in a hard tragic situation." Sheikh Sultan praised the efforts by the neighboring countries of the conflict zones, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, some Arab league countries and some NGOs.
"It has been clear that the need is urgent to increase support and cooperation among all who participated in the provision of support and comprehensive care to benefit from efforts and rehabilitate children and young adults for a better future." Sheikh Sultan expressed his hope that the discussions and discourses will lead to practical recommendations that cope with the situation in our region to push efforts to protect and provide comprehensive care for displaced children and young adults.
Those displaced children and young adults fled their homes and are living in hardship and difficult circumstances inside and outside their countries and hardships of forced displacement within the MENA region, he noted.
The UN refugee Chief Antonio Guterres and Sheikha Jawaher Al-Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and UNHCR Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, attended the conference.