According to UNICEF, more than 120,000 children have been maimed or killed in armed conflicts since 2005 alone. The United Nations Children’s Fund published the figures at an international conference in Oslo on the protection of boys and girls in wars, which begins this Monday. “Every war is ultimately a war on children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. The world must do more to better protect children in wars.
The relief organization also stated that at least 105,000 children had been recruited or deployed by the armed forces or armed groups in the past 18 years. In addition, more than 32,500 children were kidnapped. According to UNICEF, more than 16,000 children have endured sexual violence.
16,000 attacks on schools and clinics – at least
The UN also verified more than 16,000 attacks on schools and hospitals. According to the aid organization, the data comes from more than 30 conflicts in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Since these are only the recorded cases of abuse and violence against children, the actual number is likely to be much higher. In addition, many millions of children have been displaced, have lost friends or relatives, or have been separated from their parents or caregivers.
It is up to the world community as a whole to ensure “that children do not have to pay the price for the wars of adults,” stressed UNICEF Executive Director Russell. The UN organization itself was able to help almost 12,500 children belonging to armed forces or groups with reintegration and other protective measures last year alone.
Valeriia and older brother Maksym – here with their mother – had been kidnapped from Ukraine to Russia
Almost 500 children killed in Ukraine – at least
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Sunday that at least 485 children have been killed since the Russian war of aggression began. Selenskyj said in his daily video message that these were exclusively victims whose data had been officially recorded. In reality, the number is significantly higher. Zelenskyj also referred to more than 19,500 Ukrainian children who had been deported to Russia from occupied territories. So far, the “little Ukrainians” have only been brought back in around 370 cases, the head of state said in Kiev.
In mid-March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Moscow Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lwova-Belowa, in view of reports of deportations of Ukrainian children. The legal accusation is “war crimes”.
sti/fab (epd, dpa, UNICEF)