UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on Tuesday said the rules of war regarding the unlawful targeting of children must be respected, while attacks on children around the world must stop immediately.
“The rules of war prohibits the unlawful targeting of civilians, attacks on schools or hospitals, the use, recruitment and unlawful detention of children, and the denial of humanitarian assistance.
“When conflicts break out, these rules need to be respected and those who break them need to be held to account. Enough is enough. Stop attacks on children,’’ Fore said.
Fore said that no method of warfare has been off-limits, including attacks on schools, hospitals and civilian infrastructure in Yemen, South Sudan, Gaza, Bangladesh and Syria among others.
“Children have been abducted, recruited for fighting, abused and denied humanitarian assistance,’’ Fore added.
Fore also said that UNICEF has only received 16 per cent of the funding it needs for the year in order to protect children with basic needs, including food, vaccinations, protection services and schooling.
NAN reports that UNICEF said 357 million children, or one in six childrenworldwide, live in conflict zones, an increase of 75 per cent over the early 1990s.
According to UNICEF report, enhanced urbanization, protracted conflicts, and the rise in the number of schools and hospitals that are targeted by attacks increase the danger to children,.
Other hazards include kidnapping and sexual abuse.
“We are seeing a shocking increase in the number of children growing up in conflict-affected areas and exposed to the worst forms of violence you can imagine,” said Save the Children president Hele Thorning-Schmidt.
“Children suffer things that no child has to encounter – from sexual abuse to being used as a kamikaze in bomb attacks, their homes, schools and playgrounds become battlefields,” said Torning-Schmidt, a former prime minister of Denmark.
UN data show that more than 73,000 children were killed or mutilated in 25 conflicts since 2005 when they started this statistic. Since 2010, the number of UN-confirmed murdered or crippled children has risen by nearly 300 per cent.
However, according to volunteer organizations, the real figures are likely to be much higher given the difficulties in confirming data in conflict zones.
“Save the Children” points out that the deterioration of the situation for children in conflict zones is due to the increasing urban fights and the increasing use of bombs in densely populated areas.