ME­DIA WATCH Wars tak­ing a big toll on chil­dren

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

WAR is bru­tal and has no friends. Every­one is af fected by the va­garies of con­flicts — adults and chil­dren alike. Pic­tures of chil­dren who have been rav­aged by wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ye­men, Syria, coun­tries of Africa and just about in ev­ery corner of the world have brought tears to the eyes of read­ers. Chil­dren are the un­wit­ting ca­su­al­ties of war, be­com­ing a part of it through no fault of their own.

Chil­dren are de­pen­dent on the care of elders and this is dis­rupted in times of dis­tur­bances due to the loss of par­ents who go to fight on the front­lines. Some chil­dren lose all adult pro­tec­tion and be­come ‘un­ac­com­pa­nied’ mi­nors like those left des­ti­tute at the ‘Jun­gle’ refugee camp that was razed in Calais. More­over, a child­hood that should have been spent play­ing and learn­ing with friends, is turned into one where chil­dren move from camp to camp, or seek refuge in a new coun­try. Add to that the risk of be­ing abused, dis­abled or sim­ply marginalised by so­ci­ety. The psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of war can be dev­as­tat­ing on the young minds. Chil­dren are ex­posed to ter­ror and hor­ror dur­ing war, leav­ing a last­ing im­pact. In some places, chil­dren are en­listed to serve in mili­tias. It is es­ti­mated that there are tens of thou­sands of young peo­ple un­der 18 years serv­ing as child sol­diers in about 60 coun­tries. Where does this leave us? Ef­forts must be made to make war less dam­ag­ing to chil­dren. Food, cloth­ing, shel­ter and ba­sic pro­tec­tion must be en­sured to the vul­ner­a­ble. Hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance must be granted to chil­dren caught up in con­flict zones. But most of all, there must be an all­round aware­ness of the con­se­quences of war, es­pe­cially on young lives. — Gulf News

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