A total of 93,236 children have been killed or maimed in conflicts in the last 10 years, it was revealed today. That means 25 children, the equivalent of a classroom full of pupils, have been killed or injured on average every day.

Behind the stark numbers are countless stories of the child victims of war. Many are casualties of people blatantly disregarding international laws and standards, and governments turning a blind eye. Yet several countries have made a conscious decision to keep selling arms to warring parties even where it was clear they were being used against children. This cannot go on.

Adrian Förster CEO of Save the Children Switzerland

A total of 93,236 children have been killed or maimed in conflicts in the last 10 years, it was revealed today. That means 25 children, the equivalent of a classroom full of pupils, have been killed or injured on average every day.

Many were victims of airstrikes, shelling, landmines and other explosive weapons used in populated areas where families have been ripped apart and tens of thousands of children left dead or scarred for life.

Last year alone, more than a third of the verified child casualties were caused by explosive weapons – with the number dramatically higher in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The figures are disclosed today in a Save the Children report, Killed and Maimed: A Generation Of Violations Against Children In Conflict.

The report also reveals that in 2019 some 426 million children lived in a conflict-affected area – a slight increase on the year before. Around 160 million children lived in a high-intensity conflict zone, also an increase compared to 2018. Data covers the ten-year period between 2010 and 2019 inclusive. The total number of children killed or maimed in that period (93,236) divided by 3,650 days is 25.54. When looking back over the past 15 years, the number of children killed or injured in conflict jumps to more than 100,000.

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.

Click here for the full report

English original version of the report "Stop the War on Children" pdf - 3,77 MB