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

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs