United Nations (New York) , Jan 1: Armed conflict, intercommunal violence and insecurity continued to take a toll on thousands of children throughout 2021, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has said.
As a result of protracted and new conflicts, UNICEF has documented grave violations against young people in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and northern Ethiopia.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's Executive Director, on Friday said conflict parties continue to show a dreadful disregard for children's rights year after year, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Children are suffering, and children are dying because of this callousness. Every effort should be made to keep these children safe from harm," she added.
In 2020, the UN verified 26,425 grave violations against children, but data is not yet available for 2021.
The number of confirmed cases of abduction and sexual violence increased at alarming rates during the first three months of 2021 -- by more than 50 and 10 per cent, respectively.
Somalia had the highest number of verified abductions, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and countries in the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger).
Verified cases of sexual violence were the highest in the DRC, Somalia and the Central African Republic.
This year marked a quarter of a century since the publication of Graca Machel's seminal impact of war on children report, which urged the UN and international community to take action.
There have been 266,000 documented cases of grave violations committed against children across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America in the 16 years since the UN began verifying such cases.