Shock stats on chil­dren in con­flict zones

The Manica Post - - Foreign News -

THE UN chil­dren’s fund says the scale of at­tacks on chil­dren in the world’s con­flict zones reached “shock­ing” lev­els in 2017.

In a new re­port, Unicef said there was wide­spread and bla­tant dis­re­gard for in­ter­na­tional laws de­signed to pro­tect the most vul­ner­a­ble.

Unicef di­rec­tor Manuel Fon­taine said chil­dren were be­ing tar­geted in their homes, schools and play­grounds. He said such bru­tal­ity “can­not be the new nor­mal”.

The re­port high­lights sev­eral con­flict zones where it said chil­dren had suf­fered in the past year. It included:

◆ In the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, chil­dren were killed, raped, ab­ducted and re­cruited by armed groups in a dra­matic in­crease in vi­o­lence

◆ Is­lamist mil­i­tants Boko Haram forced at least 135 chil­dren in north­east Nige­ria and Cameroon to act as sui­cide bombers, al­most five times the num­ber in 2016

◆ Mus­lim Ro­hingya chil­dren in Myan­mar suf­fered “shock­ing and wide­spread vi­o­lence” as they were driven from their homes in Rakhine state In South Su­dan, more than 19 000 chil­dren were re­cruited into armed forces and armed groups

◆ Fight­ing in Ye­men has left at least 5 000 chil­dren dead or in­jured ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures, with the real num­ber ex­pected to be much higher

◆ In east­ern Ukraine, 220 000 chil­dren are liv­ing un­der the con­stant threat from land­mines and other un­ex­ploded de­vices left over from the war

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

“As these at­tacks con­tinue year af­ter year, we can­not be­come numb. Such bru­tal­ity can­not be the new nor­mal.”

The re­port says that in some places, chil­dren ab­ducted by ex­trem­ist groups suf­fer fur­ther abuse when they are re­leased to se­cu­rity forces.

Mil­lions more chil­dren suf­fer from mal­nu­tri­tion, dis­ease and trauma when ac­cess to food, wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and health is pre­vented by fight­ing, it says.

“Unicef calls on all par­ties to con­flict to abide by their obli­ga­tions un­der in­ter­na­tional law to im­me­di­ately end vi­o­la­tions against chil­dren and the tar­get­ing of civil­ian in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing schools and hos­pi­tals,” the re­ports adds.

“Unicef also calls on states with in­flu­ence over par­ties to con­flict to use that in­flu­ence to pro­tect chil­dren.” — BBC

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.