A new United Nations report found that the serious violations of children in conflict are still “astonishingly high”, and the coronavirus pandemic has made them more vulnerable to kidnapping, recruitment and sexual violence.
In its annual Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) report (PDF) Released on Monday, the United Nations stated that at least 19,379 war-affected children will be victims of serious violations such as recruitment or rape in 2020.
The United Nations verified a total of 26,425 serious violations, of which 23,946 occurred in 2020 and 2,479 occurred in the earlier period, but they were only verified in 2020.
The report found: “The escalation of conflict, armed conflict, and ignorance of international humanitarian law and international human rights law have had a serious impact on the protection of children.”
According to the report, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somalia, Syria and Yemen recorded the highest number of serious violations.
More than 8,400 children have been killed or injured in the ongoing war, and nearly 7,000 children have been recruited to fight, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Syria and Myanmar.
It said that verified cases of kidnapping and sexual violence against children increased by 90% and 70%, respectively-kidnappings are often accompanied by “recruitment and use of children and sexual violence”, including rape.
The United Nations stated that the coronavirus pandemic “intensifies the existing vulnerabilities of children, including hindering them from accessing education, health and social services, restricting child protection activities and reducing safety spaces”.
Attacks on schools and hospitals are also common in 2020, including severe attacks on girls’ education and health facilities and their staff.
The report stated that the military use of schools and hospitals has also increased, especially during the brief closure of schools during the COVID lockdown-making them targets of military occupation and use.
“The adult war has once again taken away the childhoods of millions of boys and girls in 2020,” said Virginia Gamba, the special representative of the CAAC Secretary-General.
“It is completely devastating for them, and it is also true for the entire community in which they live, and it destroys the chance of achieving sustainable peace.”
At the same time, Save the Children criticized the Civil Aviation Administration of China in a statement on Monday for not including the perpetrators of child violations on the so-called “stigma list.” This is an appendix to the United Nations report, which lists those who fail to protect The parties to child safety are listed separately. conflict.
The rights group stated that “in a frustrating decision,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres once again failed to include the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen.
“Although according to data verified by the United Nations, at least 194 children were killed and maimed in Yemen in 2020, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE has received the green light to continue to undermine the lives of Yemeni children,” Save the Children said.
“Unfortunately, other parties to the conflict in Afghanistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Syria have also received free passes for gross violations of children’s rights-despite the United Nations verifying patterns of gross violations of children’s rights year after year,” it added.
Although the United Nations has recorded 1,031 serious violations of 340 Palestinians and 3 Israeli children in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and Israel, Israel is not on the list.
Last year, Israeli security forces killed eight Palestinian children and one Israeli child, and 87 children reported being abused and due process violations by Israeli forces during detention — 83% of them reported physical violence.
Save the Children welcomes the listing of countries such as Myanmar as a situation of concern, but also points out that Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ukraine are not included.
Commenting on the report, Save the Children chief executive Inge Asin said: “We strongly urge the Secretary-General to reconsider his decision and bring all parties to conflicts around the world to the same standards. Include armed actors.” The decision on the “shame list” should be based only on the pattern of gross violations against children verified by the United Nations, not politics.
She said: “Although some positive measures have been taken this year, if the same standards are applied unfairly and consistently, it may have serious consequences for children.”