New York has received a harrowing reminder as their children return to school this fall.
UNICEF has unveiled an installation that places 3,758 blue backpacks at the United Nations in Manhattan to represent what they call a “senseless loss of a young life to conflict.”
The installation is a message to world leaders as children head back to school and a reminder to work toward peace.
“UNICEF backpacks have always been a symbol of hope and childhood possibility,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In just two weeks, world leaders gathering at the UN General Assembly will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This installation should remind them of the stakes.”
The 3,758 is the number of verified children who have been killed in conflict zones in 2018. More than 12,000 are believed to have been verified as killed or injured and the actual numbers are thought to be much higher.
The backpacks represent conflicts such as those in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and others.
“As many children go back to school this week, we are drawing attention to the thousands of children killed in conflict zones and whose tragic loss will forever be felt in their homes, classrooms and communities around the world,” said Fore. “The remarkable gains made for children in the last 30 years clearly show what we can do if we harness the political will to put children first.”