Unicef: The world has once again failed children affected by wars

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Syrian refugee children play in a UNICEF school in the informal settlement of Saadnayel, in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. EFE / Archive

The international community has not been able to prevent in 2018 that millions of children affected by wars continue to suffer violations, or to hold those responsible for these crimes accountable to justice, Unicef ​​said today.

“Children who live in areas of conflict in the world have continued to suffer extreme levels of violence during the past 12 months, and the world has continued to fail them,” UNICEF Emergency Program Director Manuel Fontaine said in a statement. .

According to the UN organization “children who live in countries at war have been the direct targets of attacks, have been used as human shields, have been killed, mutilated or recruited to fight”.

He also stressed that practices such as “rape, forced marriage and kidnapping have become common tactics in conflicts” such as those in Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, South Sudan or Myanmar.

“For too long, the parties to the conflict have committed atrocities with almost total impunity, and the situation is only getting worse, and much more can and must be done to protect and care for children,” Fontaine added.

Some 5,000 children killed or maimed in Afghanistan, 4.2 million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1,800 children recruited in Somalia, 870 murdered in Syria and another 1,427 killed or maimed in attacks in Yemen, are some of the figures collected by the United Nations Children’s Fund.

In total, Unicef ​​summarizes the suffering suffered by children in Afghanistan, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, in the Lake Chad basin, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Myanmar, the northeast of Nigeria, Palestine and Israel, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, eastern Ukraine and Yemen.

In this sense, “it appeals to all parties in conflict to comply with International Humanitarian Law and immediately stop violations against children, as well as civil infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and water systems, cease to be an objective” .

The agency, which recalls that in 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, insists that “much more needs to be done to prevent wars and to stop the numerous and disastrous armed conflicts that are devastating the lives of children”.

“Even if the wars continue, we should never accept attacks against children,” added the director of UNICEF’s Emergency Programs.

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