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The drama of children who are victims of armed conflicts

International Children’s Day conference raises awareness

Rome, 1 June 2017

Grand Hospitaller de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel addresses the conference

Grand Hospitaller de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel addresses the conference

Around the world, armed conflicts have displaced 28 million children. They have fled violence and insecurity at home* but are then exposed to every form of violence, abuse and exploitation. To discuss these pressing issues, a Child Victims of Armed Conflict conference, organised by the Sovereign Order and the Czech Republic, took place in the Magistral Villa of the Order of Malta on the Aventine.

Veronika Rymonova, survivor of the massacre perpetrated by the Nazis in her village of Lidice in the Czech Republic, told of the day in June 1942 when 300 villagers, including 90 children, were killed. She called for greater awareness of the massacre of innocents in conflict situations to prevent such acts happening in the future.

Madame Veronika Rymonova was a child victim

Madame Veronika Rymonova was a child victim

Participating in the conference, which was opened by the Grand Hospitaller of the Order, Dominique de la Rochefoucauld-Montbel, were representatives from the Holy See, the European Union, the Council of Europe and UNICEF, as well as representatives of the Czech Republic’s government and various ambassadors.

The Order of Malta in assistance for child victims of conflict

The Order of Malta, present in 120 countries, carries out numerous activities to help children who are victims of conflict:
-In Europe, and especially in Germany, the Order of Malta looks after unaccompanied migrant children. For 27 years it has been running migrant and refugee reception centres – its facilities today provide 20,000 beds, where minors receive psychological support, healthcare and access to education.

-In Bethlehem, in the Middle East, it manages the Holy Family Hospital where 3,500 babies are born every year. This is the only health facility for mothers and children in the entire area, where the Israeli-Palestine conflict has forced poverty and hardship on the local population.

-In Iraq and Turkey, the medical teams of Malteser International – the Order of Malta’s International Relief Agency – assist children displaced by the war in Syria.

-In Africa, especially South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malteser International aids children afflicted by wars and internal conflicts.

 * UNHCR: Uprooted – The growing crisis for refugee and migrant children. Sep, 2016 

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.