Vienna, 22 July 2014 Press release

Austria helps children in war zones

Vienna, 22 July 2014 – Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz made the commitment vis-à-vis EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva to dedicate 250,000 euros for humanitarian schooling projects to help children in war zones. One billion children currently live in areas where armed conflicts are part of everyday life; 300 million of them are younger than five years. They need help urgently.

"War is not a game for children. Austria has a responsibility towards children in countries such as Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia or Ethiopia who are victims of armed conflicts. The most essential task is to make schooling available to these traumatised children as soon as possible: They need a safe place where they can come to terms with the atrocities they have lived through and where they can experience the daily routine of social encounter. Positive things are done in refugee camps or pacified regions. We want to contribute our share to this", Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said when he made the promise to dedicate 250,000 euros to the Children of Peace initiative of the Directorate General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the European Commission (ECHO), represented by EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva.

European aid for children in war makes a difference
The European Commission is dedicating the prize money of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to humanitarian projects that facilitate the access to education for children in conflict areas. The EU Children of Peace Initiative has been set up for this purpose by the European Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Before the establishment of this initiative, only three percent of EU relief funds for humanitarian disasters had been available to promote the schooling of children in armed conflicts. Too little to create a basis for a peaceful future. Since the founding of EU Children of Peace, the entire Nobel Peace Prize money of 930,000 euros has been dedicated to humanitarian education projects for children, and EU funding has increased to 6 million euros. "Austria is currently contributing 250,000 euros. We welcome these joint efforts of humanitarian aid and development cooperation organisations to help children who suffer under wars. Our contribution is in line with the priority of Austrian Development Cooperation of promoting peace and safety and the rights of children", Martin Ledolter, CEO of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) said. The contract will be concluded between ADA and ECHO.

To date, the Children of Peace Initiative has supported 28,000 children in conflict zones. New projects in a further nine countries will now offer hope for a future in peace through education for another 80,000 children.

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