More than 8,000 children killed, injured in conflicts: UN

413

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 6 (APP): A new United Nations report says more
than 8,000 children were killed or injured in armed conflicts throughout
the world last year, a number that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called “unacceptable.”
The UN said in a statement that its annual Children and Armed Conflict
report, presented to the UN Security Council on October 5, found that Afghanistan had the highest number of verified child casualties since
the 192-nation body began documenting civilian casualties in 2009.
The report said that 3,512 children in Afghanistan were killed or
maimed in 2016, up 24 percent from the previous year. In Syria the figure was 1,299, and in Yemen it was 1,340.
The report also found that hundreds of children were victims of sexual
violence, targeted in attacks on schools, or recruited as soldiers.
Guterres said the recruitment and use of children in conflict more
than doubled in Somalia and Syria compared with 2015. And the U.N.
verified 169 incidents affecting at least 1,022 youngsters in South Sudan, more than 60 percent of them recruited and used by government security forces, he said.
The secretary-general said the number of violations against children
committed by extremist groups – al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Islamic State
and the Taliban – totaled more than 6,800.
Releasing the report, the Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, said, “The tragic fate of child victims of conflict cannot and must not leave
us unmoved; a child killed, recruited as a soldier, injured in an attack
or prevented from going school due to a conflict is already one too
many.”
Expressing shock over the scale of violations documented in the
report, Guterres, the UN chief, reiterated his call on parties to
conflict to abide by their responsibility to protect children, in
accordance with their obligation under international humanitarian and
human rights law.
“The goal of the report is not only to raise awareness of the
violations of the rights of children but also to promote measures that
can diminish the tragic plight of children in conflict, read a statement attributable to the spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
“The Secretary-General is encouraged that several governments and
non-state actors are now working with the United Nations towards that objective. He hopes that more will follow,” it added.
The statement further noted that the new Developments and Concerns
section included in the report reflects this enhanced UN engagement,
which should lead to reducing the suffering of children victims of armed conflict and increase their protection.
The violations covered in the report include recruitment or use of
children; killing or maiming children; committing rape and other forms of sexual violence against children; engaging in attacks on schools and/or hospitals; and abducting children in situations of armed conflict.
The parties which committed these violations are listed in annexes to
the report. The annexes also include parties that have put in place
measures to improve protection of children during the reporting period
and those who have not implemented adequate measures.