2014 one of worst for world’s children: UN
NEW YORK — The year 2014 has been one of the worst on record for the world’s children, the United Nations said on Monday in a report that chronicled a litany of war, violence, atrocities and disease, mostly in the Middle East and Africa.
Up to 15 million children are directly entangled in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, South Sudan, Syria and Ukraine, said the report by the United Nations Children’s Fund, or Unicef.
Globally, the report said, an estimated 230 million children live in countries and areas torn by armed conflicts.
“Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds,” said Anthony Lake, the executive director of Unicef. “They have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves.”
The report was basically a summation of the well-documented afflictions that affected children in 2014. But taken in their entirety, they presented what Unicef called a devastating picture.
“Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality,” Mr. Lake said.
In the Central African Republic, a chronically dysfunctional country bordering on anarchy, 2.3 million children are affected, and up to 10 000 may have been recruited by armed groups as soldiers, the report said. More than 430 children have been killed or wounded, three times as many as in 2013.
In Gaza, the report said, the 50day conflict this summer between Israelis and Palestinians left 538 children dead, 3 370 wounded and 54,000 homeless.
The nearly four-year-old war in Syria, which spilled into Iraq this year with the ascendance of the militant group the Islamic State, was a leading contributor of trauma to children, the report said, disrupting the lives of more than 7.3 million in Syria and 2.7 million in Iraq.
In South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, which gained independence in 2011, a calamitous civil conflict that erupted a year ago has brought severe hunger, homelessness and death. More than 750 000 children have been displaced in the country, 320,000 others are refugees in neighbouring countries and 235 000 under age 5 are suf- fering “severe acute malnutrition,” the report said.
The year was worsened by the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which the report said had left thousands of children orphaned and an esti- mated five million out of school.
The sheer number of crises in 2014, the report said, meant that many had garnered little lasting attention or had been completely overlooked.
“Protracted crises in countries like Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen,” it said, “continued to claim even more young lives and futures.” — NY Times.
While Ebola’s victims included this Liberian girl, armed conflicts around the world afflicted up to 15 million children, a report said.