Charred school tables and toys are strewn through the rubble of a bombed classroom. A military tank lurks nearby.
This is not a snapshot from Syria nor Palestine – this is a leafy and affluent suburb of inner-city Melbourne.
The scene has been constructed on a basketball court in South Yarra as part of Save the Children’s campaign to secure a commitment from the next federal government to ‘stop the war on children’ and end its export of arms to countries accused of committing war crimes.
“For millions of children around the world, this is their daily reality,” the organisation’s acting CEO Mat Tinkler said.
“In fact, more children than ever before are living – and dying – in conflict zones.”
More than 420 million children are currently living in conflict zones, or one in five children around the world, according to Save the Children.
A child is killed every three minutes from the indirect impacts of war, the organisation added.
While it might seem a world away from Melbourne, Mr Tinkler said whoever formed Australia’s next government must to do more to protect children in conflict.
He said Australia must stop exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – countries accused of committing war crimes against children in Yemen.
“It’s unthinkable that in this day and age Australia could be supplying military assets that are fuelling the worst humanitarian crisis on the planet – a war that has seen more than 85,000 children die from extreme hunger or disease,” he said.