Unicef: Chil­dren un­der at­tack at ‘shock­ing scale’

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

NEW YORK: Chil­dren liv­ing in the world’s con­flict zones have come un­der at­tack at a “shock­ing scale” this year, United Na­tions Chil­dren’s Fund (Unicef) said yes­ter­day.

At­tack­ers have “bla­tantly” dis­re­garded in­ter­na­tional laws de­signed to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble, the or­gan­i­sa­tion said in a state­ment.

“Chil­dren are be­ing tar­geted and ex­posed to at­tacks and bru­tal vi­o­lence in their homes, schools and play­grounds,” Unicef’s di­rec­tor of emer­gency pro­grammes Manuel Fon­taine said.

The world must not be­come numb to these at­tacks, he said, adding “such bru­tal­ity can­not be the new nor­mal”.

Chil­dren have be­come front­line tar­gets in con­flicts around the world, used as hu­man shields, killed, maimed and re­cruited to fight.

Rape, forced mar­riage, ab­duc­tion and en­slave­ment have be­come stan­dard tac­tics in con­flicts from Syria and Ye­men to Nige­ria and Myan­mar, Unicef said.

Mil­lions more chil­dren be­come in­di­rect ca­su­al­ties of these con­flicts, suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion, dis­ease and trauma as ba­sic ser­vices – in­clud­ing ac­cess to food, wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and health – are de­nied, dam­aged or de­stroyed in the fight­ing.

The state­ment cited sig­nif­i­cant statis­tics in­clud­ing that in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s Ka­sai re­gion, where vi­o­lence has driven 850,000 chil­dren from their homes and an es­ti­mated 350,000 chil­dren have suf­fered from se­vere acute mal­nu­tri­tion.

In Ye­men, nearly 1,000 days of fight­ing left at least 5,000 chil­dren dead or in­jured, ac­cord­ing to ver­i­fied data, with ac­tual num­bers ex­pected to be much higher.

More than 11 mil­lion chil­dren need hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance. – dpa

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