Boy runs through buildings damaged by bombing during clashes in Sirte, Libya | Photo:Unicef/Giovanni Diffidenti

Last Wednesday (5), the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, presented alarming data to the Security Council on violence against children. According to her, more than 27,000 inspection cases were verified by the UN last year.

The report covers 26 situations in five regions of the world, including countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ukraine, which are being evaluated for the first time. Details on Haiti and Niger are expected to be included in the next edition of the report.

Figures reveal that more than 18,000 children protected graves in 2022. Among them, 8,600 were killed or maimed, 7,600 were recruited and used in combat, and 3,900 were kidnapped.

A UN representative stated that half of the cases are committed by terrorists, but a large part is caused by government armed and security forces. In addition, more than 1 million children, mostly girls, have been victims of sexual violence, rape, forced marriage, sexual slavery and sexual assault. Some of these cases led the victims to death.

Another concern presented in the report is the attack on civilian institutions such as schools and hospitals. More than 1,100 schools and nearly 650 hospitals were attacked in 2022, representing a 112% increase from the previous year. Alarmingly, half of these attacks came from government forces.

The difficulty of humanitarian access to support children was also mentioned. The UN registered more than 3,900 requests for humanitarian access in the last year. Prolonged conflicts have been identified as a contributing factor to the increase in serious violations.

Although Sudan is not in the report, Unicef ​​has expressed concern about the impact of violence on the country’s 21 million children. More than a million children have been displaced by fighting and reports of hundreds of children killed and injured are being verified.

Unicef ​​lamented the Security Council’s lack of progress in adopting how to draft the Secretary-General’s report. As the number of countries on the agenda of children and armed conflict grows, so does the number of young people who have passed from protection and support. Over the past 23 years, the work of the UN and its partners has contributed to the release of at least 180,000 minors from armed groups.

with information from UN News
Editing: Barbara Luz


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