An injured Palestinian girl receives treatment at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 9, 2023 amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

International news

In a strong show of solidarity with children affected by the armed conflict in Gaza, the Finnish Union of Students Training to be Teachers (SOOL) has unanimously endorsed a petition urging the Finnish government to safeguard the rights of children in Gaza and to foster a ceasefire.

The petition, titled "Educational Professionals: Ensuring the Realization of Children's Rights in Gaza," aligns with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Finland is a signatory.

This convention mandates that member states take all necessary actions to protect and care for children impacted by armed conflict, ensuring their right to life and promoting conditions conducive to their survival and development.

The grim reality in Gaza, where daily bombardments have reportedly claimed the lives of thousands of children and youths, with an estimated 400 young lives lost each day, underscores the urgency of this appeal. The conflict has also wrought extensive damage to educational infrastructure, with approximately 40% of schools in Gaza, over 200 in total, being impaired. This situation places over 600,000 students and 22,000 teachers in areas of ongoing risk.

SOOL's initiative highlights Finland's commitment to the principles of the UN convention and the country's obligation to champion its objectives. The union's stance is a call to action, emphasizing that the endorsement of such international agreements must transcend rhetoric and manifest in meaningful action, particularly in times of dire need.

Promoting a ceasefire is presented as the sole viable solution to enhance the safety of both Israelis and Palestinians and to pave the way for peace. The union firmly believes that no child should fall victim to the ravages of war, and their advocacy reflects a broader call for international responsibility and action to protect the most vulnerable in conflict zones.