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Can children be protected from the effects of war?

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 07 December 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1493
  1. David Southall,
  2. Manuel Carballo

    The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the most important steps that the United Nations has taken to address the needs of children throughout the world. It reflects a growing concern about the adverse conditions that children are being increasingly exposed to and recognises the threat that these conditions constitute for the future of society as a whole. Article 6 of the convention refers to the inherent right of all children to life.

    Improving the health of children has been the focus of international effort for many years and progress has been made. But, as we approach the end of a century which has been endowed with advances in medical science and technology, article 6 stands out as an unmet challenge.

    In the past 10 years over one and a half million children have died in war zones. Another four million have been permanently disabled. Some estimates place the number of people, a large proportion of them children, who have been forced from their homes at over 50 million. Over one million children have been orphaned and countless millions have been so badly traumatised that they are psychologically scarred for life. The rights of …

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