What does the general election result mean for children in war?

War Child election blog
Last night we watched the UK election results unfold

This morning we woke up to a pretty dramatic election result.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t had a huge amount of sleep after staying up to watch all the results come in.

Despite most of the polling suggesting a very different outcome, we’re faced with a rare occurrence – a hung parliament. 

Whilst, unsuprisingly, its taking a while for the dust to settle, it looks as though the Conservatives will try and form a government with the support of the DUP. 

It’s going to take us a while to process what this new political reality means for us here at War Child, and what it will mean for our work to advocate on behalf of children affected by war. 

But one thing is certain - the new government must put the protection of children in war at the top of its agenda.

So here's a rundown of the 3 main issues we want to see the new government prioritise:

 

War Child election blog
Yemeni children's lives are being torn apart by war.

1. An immediate end to the UK's sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia

In Yemen, millions of children are caught up in a horrifying conflict. 

The fighting has killed and maimed thousands.  Hospitals are being bombed and the health system has been crippled.

A physical and economic blockade of the country has left thousands more children on the brink of starvation.

There have been atrocities committed by all sides, but most of the civilian casualties have been caused by Saudi Arabia and the coalition it leads.

A country to which the UK selling billions of pounds’ worth of weapons.

It’s a shameful relationship.

This country’s support for the Saudi-led coalition, and our complicity in the suffering of Yemen’s children must end.

With no one in overall control in Parliament, lots of talks will take place between the different parties to form coalitions. We want an end in arms sales to Saudi Arabia to lie at the heart of these discussions.

All parties need to work much harder in ensuring a quick and peaceful end to the conflict.

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Syrian children need to be supported and given access to education

2. To end the fighting in Syria as soon as possible 

The brutal conflict in Syria has entered its 7th year. It's impact on children is devastating.

Thousands have been killed, and millions more have been forced to flee. 

Yet there still seems to be no end in sight, and its time for the international community to step up its efforts to end the fighting. 

The UK is a major global player, and the government must to more to place pressure on Russia and Iran to end attacks on children and civilians, to distance themselves from the crimes of the Assad regime and to end their unquestioning support for him. 

If and when the fighting ends, the UK should commit itself to rebuilding the country. 

It must ensure that the investment is made in the education and psychosocial support to help Syria’s children need to recover from the huge disruption to their lives.

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The 0.7% aid spend helps children in war all over the world. Photo: Phil Saunders

3. A commitment to 0.7% aid spending

We're proud of the global leadership that the UK has shown in committing itself to spending 0.7% of our national income on international aid. 

This aid has made a huge difference to the lives of thousands upon thousands of children affected by war around the world. 

It was reassuring to see all of the major parties commit to retaining this aid spend in the run up to the general election. 

It's vital that this commitment remains safe and secure. 

About the author:

Colin Walker is the Head of Policy and Advocacy at War Child UK. He works to lobby politicians to do more to support children whose lives have been torn apart by war. 

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