Vienna, 3 April 2003 Press release

Slovenia and Austria provide assistance for war-traumatised children in Iraq


Ferrero-Waldner supports Ö 3 campaign "Help for the children of Iraq"

Vienna, 3 April 2003 - In a joint press conference Austrian Foreign Minister Ferrero-Waldner and the Slovenian Foreign Minster Rupel announced that they would make funds available for an aid project for war-damaged and traumatised children in Iraq. Rupel, like Austria, plans to contribute an amount of EUR 200,000 to this project.
Ferrero-Waldner expressed her pleasure that this joint initiative with Slovenia will, within the framework of the Human Security Network, ( provide professional psychological assistance, care and help for war-traumatised children. "A war also leaves a dramatic imprint of destruction in children's souls. Besides general humanitarian aid, we therefore also intend to place the focus on psychological care for Iraqi children," Ferrero-Waldner pointed out, also highlighting in this context the significant role of the Human Security Network (HSN), an inter-regional cooperation of 13 states from all continents. The political concept of "human security" targets the individual human being and his or her life in safety and human dignity. For this reason and at the instigation of Ferrero-Waldner, the HSN Minister Conference in Graz from 8 to 10 May 2003, which will be chaired by the Austrian Foreign Minister and attended by the heads of international organisations and a number of renowned academic experts, will be assigning high priority to the central issues of human rights education and the wide topic of improving the situation of children in armed conflicts.
As the Foreign Minister further explained, the assistance project for the children of Iraq will be jointly implemented by Austrian experts and the Ljubljana-based child care centre "Together", which as a consequence of the wars in the Balkans possesses ample experience in handling and treating war-traumatised children. Project implementation is to start as early as mid-April.
As regards the financing of the project, the Austrian Foreign Minister said that Austria's contribution of EUR 200,000 ensured that the war-traumatised children in Iraq would receive comprehensive and professional psychological aid and care. These funds form part of immediate aid in the amount of EUR 1 million made available by the Foreign Ministry and split up among UN humanitarian aid entities and well-known Austrian assistance organisations. "From these funds we are also supporting the ORF radio station Ö3's appeal for donations for children in Iraq, and Caritas and the Red Cross will be allocated EUR 150,000 each," Ferrero-Waldner explained.