The report launched by Save the Children today, on World Children’s Day, is the fourth in a series entitled Stop the War on Children. It shines a spotlight on six grave violations committed against children in conflict zones (see footnote for details)
Over the past decade, more than 200,000 such violations were verified. The record was sadly broken in 2019, which saw 26,233 grave violations committed. The actual number is likely to be even higher as some violations, notably sexual abuse, are grossly underreported.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the focus should be on fighting the virus, warring parties continue killing and maiming children, Save the Children said. The UN called for a global ceasefire in July, endorsed by 170 countries, but since then 177 of children have been killed and maimed in Yemen, dozens have been killed or badly injured in Afghanistan, the violence in DRC has spiked, and children in Myanmar are frequent victims.
Earlier this year, the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition was taken off the UN’s ‘list of shame’, which calls out perpetrators of grave violations against children. The coalition was delisted even though children in Yemen are still bombed almost daily, Save the Children said.
The report Killed and Maimed also outlined that, in 2019:
- The most dangerous countries for children in conflict are Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, DRC, Mali, CAR, Iraq, South Sudan and Sudan;
- More than 3 million children were living in an area where violence had been raging for 18 years or more;
- the number of children recruited by armed forces rose by 639 from 2018, to 7,845 in 2019. Over 3,100 children were found to have been recruited in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone;
- Over 4,400 times humanitarian organisations were denied access to children – six times as often as in 2018.