World News

Children suffer at shocking scale in conflicts

Children suffer at shocking scale in conflicts

Unicef director of emergency programmes Manuel Fontaine said such brutality "cannot be the new normal".

A new report by the United Nations children's fund finds 2017 has been a particularly brutal year for children caught in conflict, as children around the world have been subject to shocking levels of attacks by the warring parties.

Children have been killed, raped, abducted and recruited by armed groups amid a dramatic upsurge in violence over recent months in the Central African Republic.

In South Sudan, where conflict and a collapsing economy led to a starvation declaration in parts of the country, more than 19,000 children have been recruited into armed forces and armed groups.

In civil-war wracked Yemen, fighting and a Saudi Arabia-imposed blockade has created a humanitarian catastrophe, with 5,000 children confirmed dead or injured and 1.8 million children suffering from malnutrition.

Rape, forced marriage, abduction and enslavement had become standard tactics in conflicts across Iraq, Syria and Yemen, as well as in Nigeria, South Sudan and Myanmar.

The children's agency concluded that 2017 was a "nightmare year" for young people trapped in conflict zones.

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A UNICEF report found that in conflict-ridden regions across the world, high numbers of children had been killed, used as human shields and recruited to fight.

Children account for more than half of the 655,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in western Myanmar since August 2017.

In Yemen - where at least 5,000 children have died in the civil war that has raged for nearly three years - more than 11 million children are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

Boko Haram, a jihadist organisation, forced at least 135 children to act as suicide bombers, almost five times the number in 2016.

In Democratic Republic of the Congo, an estimated 350,000 children have suffered from severe acute malnutrition. In eastern Ukraine, 220,000 children are endangered by landmines and other unexploded ordinances along a 310 mile de facto border that is "becoming one of the most mine-contaminated places on earth". More than 11 million children need humanitarian assistance.

In a new report, Unicef said all sides blatantly disregarded global laws created to protect the most vulnerable. It shows groups of weeping children and a severely malnourished baby treated by a UNICEF doctor.

The agency has also called on states with influence over non-state parties in conflict to use that influence to protect children.


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