The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has verified more than 170,000 “serious” violations – understood as murders, rapes, forced recruitments or kidnappings- of children’s rights in conflict scenarios, the equivalent of more than 45 cases per day, during what he has described as a “deadly decade” for the little ones, the first innocent victims of world conflicts.
The number of countries affected by conflict is the highest since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 in a world “where wars with increasingly longer and increasingly bloody killings“, said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“Attacks against children are incessant because the contestants make fun of one of the most basic rules of war: guarantee the protection of the little ones. For every act of violence against children that generates headlines and causes cries of indignation, there are many more that are not denounced, “said the executive director.
In 2018, the United Nations documented more than 24,000 serious violations against the rights of children, including murders, mutilations, sexual violence, kidnappings, denial of humanitarian access, forced recruitment and attacks against schools and hospitals.
While this may be partly explained by the increase in supervision and reporting, the figure is still 2.5 times higher than in 2010.
More than 12,000 children were killed or maimed in 2018, UNICEF denounces, before condemning without palliative the continuous and widespread use of air strikes and explosive weapons such as landmines, mortars, improvised explosive devices, rockets, cluster bombs and artillery bombings that cause the vast majority of child victims in armed conflicts .
The attacks and violence against minors have not stopped in 2019. In the first half of the year, the United Nations documented more than 10,000 cases of violations of children’s rights, although the figures may be even higher.
UNICEF is even able to count monthly atrocities. In January, at least 32 children were killed or died in northern and eastern Syria as a result of violence, displacement and extremely harsh winter conditions.
In March, more than 150 people, including 85 children, were killed when an armed group attacked the village of Ogossagou in the Mopti region, in central Mali. Another attack in Sobanou-Kou caused 24 new child victims.
In June, three children were employed as decoys to detonate their explosive vests in an attack that killed 30 people and wounded another 48 in a community center in the town of Konduga, in the Nigerian state of Borno.
In September, UNICEF reported that 2 million children still do not attend school in Yemen, including almost half a million who dropped out since the conflict escalated in March 2015.
In October, UNICEF found 657 children killed in Syria. A month later, the fund found almost 900,000 Cameroonian children out of school after years of violence and instability in the northwest of the African country.
In early December, five children died when armed men opened fire inside a place of worship in Burkina Faso. In eastern Ukraine, where almost half a million children suffer the impact of the conflict, 36 attacks against schools were recorded this year, one of which suffered 15 attacks.
And, in mid-December, UNICEF reported that an average of nine children were killed or maimed every day in Afghanistan during the first nine months of 2019.
For the last time in this decade, the UN Fund urges “all belligerent factions to fulfill their obligations under International Law and put an immediate end to all violations against the rights of children and to stop using civil infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and water facilities, “and calls on states with influence on the parties to conflict that uses its power “to guarantee the protection of children”.