'A crime against all that is civilized': UNICEF report details plight of kids in conflict zones
A new UNICEF report says 2017 has been a horrific year for children in conflict zones, with thousands killed and scores more injured, displaced, recruited to fight, or made victims of sexual violence.
“More and more of the armed groups in these various wars are taking the desperate measures of recruiting children and using children,” UNICEF Canada president and CEO David Morley told CTV News Channel on Thursday. “And that is totally unacceptable. It’s a barbaric crime, it’s a crime against all that is civilized, and so we’ve issued the report because we see these numbers going up.”
UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, is a UN program that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers across the developing world.
These are some of the most harrowing figures from their 2017 report on children in conflict zones:
- 135 — Minimum number of children used as suicide bombers by Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroon, a fivefold increase from 2016.
- 700 — Number of children killed in Afghanistan in the first nine months of the year.
- 5,000 — Minimum number of children killed or injured in Yemen, where 11 million kids are in need of humanitarian assistance and 1.8 million suffer from malnutrition.
- 19,000 — Children recruited as soldiers in South Sudan, where 2,300 kids have been killed since 2013.
- 220,000 — Children living under constant threat of landmines and explosive remnants of war in Ukraine.
- 850,000 — Children displaced from their homes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where at least 400 schools have been attacked.
In its report, 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.”
“It’s something that we cannot allow to become the new normal,” Morley added. “Every single one of those stories is a child’s life who’s been put at risk, or a child who’s been killed, and we can’t just let it be.”
You can read the full report -- which also includes troubling information on the plight of children in war-torn Iraq, Syria, Myanmar, Central African Republic and Somalia -- at www.unicef.org.