The futures of millions of children living in countries affected by armed conflict are at risk, as warring parties continue to commit grave violations against children, and world leaders fail to hold perpetrators accountable – UNICEF said in a commentary released on December 27, 2018.
“Children living in conflict zones around the world have continued to suffer through extreme levels of violence over the past 12 months, and the world has continued to fail them,” said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes. “For too long, parties to conflict have been committing atrocities with near-total impunity, and it is only getting worse. Much more can and must be done to protect and assist children.”
Children living in countries at war have come under direct attack, have been used as human shields, killed, maimed or recruited to fight. Rape, forced marriage and abduction have become standard tactics in conflicts from Syria to Yemen, and from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Nigeria, South Sudan and Myanmar.
Over the course of 2018:
In Afghanistan, violence and bloodshed remain a daily occurrence, with some 5,000 children killed or maimed within the first three quarters of 2018, equal to all of 2017, and children making up 89 per cent of civilian casualties from explosive remnants of war.
Cameroon has seen an escalation of the conflict in the North-West and South-West regions of the country, with schools, students and teachers often coming under attack. In November, more than 80 people, including many children, were abducted from a school in Nkwen, in the north-west of the country and released a few days later. To date, 93 villages have allegedly been partially or totally burned due to conflict in the areas, with many children experiencing extreme levels of violence.