UN reports highest ever number of grave violations against war-affected kids

Little girls walking towards school in worn-torn Syria. [Image for representational purpose only]
Little girls walking towards school in worn-torn Syria. [Image for representational purpose only]Flickr [Creative Commons]

United Nations: The UN has verified a record-breaking number of grave violations against children affected by war last year, reaching 27,180 cases, according to a Security Council briefing.

Virginia Gamba, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for children and armed conflict, presented her annual report, calling for urgent and decisive action to protect boys and girls from death, recruitment, rape, and other atrocities, reports Xinhua news agency.

The report encompasses 26 situations across five regions globally, indicating a concerning trend.

It includes countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Ukraine, which are being featured for the first time.

Additionally, the report mentions new situations in Haiti and Niger, with further details to be provided in next year's edition.

Among the verified violations, the UN confirmed that 18,890 children experienced grave violations during armed conflicts in 2022.

Tragically, 8,630 children were killed or maimed, 7,622 were recruited for combat, and 3,985 were abducted.

These three violations reached the highest levels ever recorded, demonstrating an alarming increase from previous years.

Furthermore, the report identified 1,165 children, mostly girls, who endured rape, gang rape, forced marriage, sexual slavery, or sexual assault, with some cases resulting in the victims' death.

The report emphasised the importance of recognizing that behind these numbers are real children whose individual stories often go untold.

It also revealed a distressing surge in attacks on schools and hospitals, with 1,163 schools and nearly 650 hospitals targeted in 2022, representing a significant 112 per cent increase from the previous year.

Disturbingly, half of these attacks were carried out by government forces, the report claimed.

The use of educational and medical facilities for military purposes remains a major concern, with a verified "sharp increase" of over 60 per cent in such cases last year, involving both armed forces and armed groups.

Additionally, the UN documented over 3,930 incidents of humanitarian access denial to children, alongside attacks on aid workers, looting of humanitarian supplies, and destruction of critical infrastructure.

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