According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), violence has taken a devastating toll on children across the world, as they are either being killed in ongoing conflicts or suicide attacks or getting frozen to death while fleeing from active war zones.
Describing January as a dark month in the crisis-torn Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Director for the region said on February 5, 2018 said that it is simply unacceptable that children continue to be killed and injured every single day. He further added saying that children have paid the highest price for wars that they have absolutely no responsibility for.
Cappelaere revealed that as the Syrian conflict enters its 8th year, intensifying fighting has reportedly killed 59 children in the past four weeks.
Incidences of Violence against Children
• Reports suggest that in the month of January alone, escalating violence in Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Syria and Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 83 children.
• The United Nations itself verified the killing of at least 16 children in attacks across Yemen. In fact, the international organisation continues to receive daily reports of more killed and injured children amidst escalating fighting.
• In Libya's Benghazi, a suicide attack took the lives of three children while three others died playing near unexploded ordnance and a fourth child remains in critical condition after the blast.
• In the old city of Mosul in Iraq, a child was killed in a booby-trapped house and in Palestine, a boy was shot dead in a village near Ramallah.
• Furthermore, 16 refugees including four children froze to death in a harsh winter storm in Lebanon, while fleeing the war in Syria, and many more children were hospitalized with frost bite.
• Besides this, hundreds of children have drowned while trying to flee conflict-stricken regions after their boats capsized in international waters.
Cappelaere added that not hundreds, not thousands but millions of children in the Middle East and North Africa region have their childhoods stolen and have been traumatized, arrested and detained, exploited, maimed for life, prevented from going to school and from getting the essential health services and denied even the basic right to play.
He stated that for this, no one has no justification, no reason to accept this as a new normal and added saying that the protection of children is paramount under all circumstances, in line with the law of war.
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