News / Africa

UN: Children Victimized in World Conflicts

Two Palestinian refugee children lean on the wall of a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt,  May 17, 2013.
Two Palestinian refugee children lean on the wall of a house in Gezirat al-Fadel village, Sharqiya, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Cairo, Egypt, May 17, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
The United Nations says thousands of children have been killed, injured, tortured or recruited into militias and armies in the past year as a result of armed conflicts.  In its annual report on the situation, the world body notes progress in some states, but a worsening situation in others, such as Mali, Syria and the Central African Republic.  

The report chronicles violations in 21 countries during 2012 and includes Mali for the first time.

It focuses on six violations - recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, maiming and killing, abduction, sexual violence, denial of access for humanitarians, and attacks on schools and hospitals.

Countries with Children in Armed ConflictCountries with Children in Armed Conflict
x
Countries with Children in Armed Conflict
Countries with Children in Armed Conflict
The Secretary-General’s Envoy for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said at the release of the report Wednesday the situation of children in Syria, Mali and the Central African Republic is especially troubling.

In Syria, where the conflict has entered its third year, the report cites the government for sexual violence against children and for targeting hospitals and schools.   Zerrougui says the opposition Free Syrian Army recruits children into its ranks.  

“They are killed, they are maimed, they are recruited, they are detained, they are tortured.  So children are really - in Syria, outside of Syria - they are also bearing what is happening to the adults because they are IDPs, they are prevented from going to school, they are seeing their parents killed," said Zerrougui.

Zerrougui plans to return to the region this month to assess the situation, going to neighboring countries where thousands of Syrian children are living as refugees.

“What we would like to do is to see this stop.  We would like to see parties take their responsibility to respect the standards that govern war and to ensure that children are not paying such a high price, and to preserve the life of civilians in general, and children in particular," she said. "We would like also to ask parties to allow humanitarians to access areas where children are in need."

In Mali, a rebellion in the north displaced thousands and led to grave violations against children, particularly by armed groups.

“Of course, in Mali, children are more than half of the population, and they were also severely affected by the conflict, they were killed, they were injured, but they were also recruited and a lot of sexual violence committed," said Zerrougui.

She said the situation in the Central African Republic was slowly improving until the end of 2012, when hostilities erupted between the government and the Séléka coalition and erased much of the progress made.  She said the recruitment of children is widespread; there are numerous reports of gang rape; the bombing of churches and playgrounds; and attacks on schools and hospitals.

In many cases it is not just armed groups committing violations, but the very militaries that are supposed to be protecting civilians.  This year’s report cites 46 armed groups and nine national militaries in its “List of Shame.”

There were two positive notes from the report:  both Nepal and Sri Lanka were removed from the List of Shame this year and five governments signed action plans to end violations and prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid