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LETTER: Children have the most to lose

From Mr Bill Linton

Sir: Thank you for launching your "Children of War Appeal" (18 November). Children in a war zone are always the most vulnerable, and have the most to lose: you only get one childhood, and one chance to develop normally, both physically and mentally. You also only have one set of parents.

It was for this reason that the final Declaration of the 1990 World Summit for Children included, as one of its seven major goals, "protection of children in especially difficult circumstances, particularly in situations of armed conflict". Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child from the same year says much the same thing. Almost every state has signed up to both of these documents, and almost all have also ratified the convention.

Clearly, the protection of children caught in the middle of a vicious civil war is particularly difficult, but now that the war is (hopefully) over, it would be a good time for the world's statesmen to start making concrete plans as to how they are going to fulfil these obligations which they freely entered into.

Yours faithfully,

Bill Linton

London, N13

20 November