Authors: Nandini Mathur, Student at Manipal University, Jaipur;
Nimisha Agarwal, Student at Manipal University, Jaipur;
Vishwas Gupta, Student at University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun:
Humanitarian Crisis is referred to as an occurrence or incident or rather a chain of multiple occurrences or incidents which is hazardous or peril invoking for a certain community or a large group of identifiable people or citizens of a particular nation or ethnic area. The problems endured in such a crisis is in terms of health, safety and economic well-being of the victims. The source or origin of the crisis can germinate by either internal or external conflict. A Humanitarian Crisis can be both Natural or man-made. Examples of a Humanitarian Crisis are militant discords, epidemics, pandemics, famines, floods, other natural disasters, et cetera.
People of all age, gender, caste, creed and race are the victim of an ongoing Humanitarian Crisis in a region. However, Children are the most affected in a Humanitarian Crisis especially one invoked by an armed conflict. In a crisis, a child pays the highest price and pace a humongous amount of pain and agony. Children face unimaginable forms of violence, abuse, victimization, oppression, subjugation, persecution and ill-treatment. The consequences of a crisis are not only financially and physically devastating but also affect the children mentally. Some of them lose their family and are forced to survive on minimum or rather no economic support. For many children it is nothing but inevitable to flee from their home, leaving their households at bay. There is trifling access to education and the healthcare available to them is negligible too. All these problems cumulatively pose as a hindrance in the path of a child to achieve the basic goals of a well settled life with a decent career and comfortable lifestyle. Instead, every day is a new yet repetitive survival struggle for children stuck in a humanitarian crisis.
According to a research by the not-for-profit organisation ‘Save the Children’, no less than 65.5 million people have to forcefully leave their home due to a humanitarian crisis. Of all the fled people due to a humanitarian crisis, almost half of the fled population comprises of children. This number is ever increasing and that too at a very striking rate. Approximately, 75% of the fled children are facing a substantial lack of quality education, basic healthcare and nutritious food. This research depicts the abysmal situation of children amidst an international humanitarian crisis. This situation evaluates in a manifold manner when a crisis is paired with serious armed conflict and militant rebellion. For instance, this phenomenon can be observed whilst analysing the Humanitarian crisis in Yemen. It is regarded as one of the biggest Humanitarian Crisis the mankind has ever experienced. As per the report of UNICEF, “more than 80% of the population which amounts to 24 million people are in need of Humanitarian Assistance, more than 12 million of which are children.” Since, the crisis in Yemen heightened and intensified in 2015, children are being exterminated, oppressed and subjugated unceasingly. Henceforth, by the specimen of Yemen Crisis, it is anecdotal that children are the primary and most vulnerable victims of a Humanitarian Crisis especially when induced by an armed conflict or rebellion.
The international organisations are set up for the protection of children in all sorts of humanitarian crisis. However, the main focus of International Humanitarian Law is on the victims of armed conflicts or militant rebellion. Hence, it is also commonly known as ‘Law of Armed Conflicts’. In common parlance, it is attributed as a branch of law which seeks to limit the pain and sufferings of the non-participants in the hostilities of an armed conflict. It also focuses on limiting the resources available for warfare to the rebels and combatants.
Since, the theme of the paper is based on protection of children in International Settings. The paper would majorly focus on relevant international organisations, institutions and authorities deal with the protection of children victimized amidst a humanitarian crisis, especially those originated and invoked by an armed conflict or armed rebellion such as the Syrian Crisis. Also, reflecting upon the action plan adopted by variegated institutions such as UNICEF, ‘Save the children’, et cetera and evaluating their adequacy, further examining the need of revamp with ever-changing nature of humane set-up with the change of times. The research has also been conducted upon the different conventions, treaties and international laws dealing with the fortification of children’s education, shelter, food and healthcare in altruistic and philanthropic settings. However, the major emphasis of the paper is on finding out that how successful the present laws, treaties and conventions have been in dealing with the problems invoked upon children by the major international humanitarian crisis such as Yemen Humanitarian crisis, Somalian Crisis, Armed Conflict and Militant Rebellion in Syria, Kashmir Conflict, et cetera.
The Hypothesis of the paper until now is that the various International laws and conventions based around the motive of safeguarding the children amidst humanitarian crisis are at present are not adequate and efficient enough to tackle the gigantic problems attributed towards children stuck in different crisis. Along with the law and convention, an improvisation of the working mechanism of the Child protection organisations is also needed to keep up with the ever increasing needs evolved by the passage of time.