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Kids in conflict: UNICEF cites grave violations over 25 yrs

Children belonging to Afghan refugees living in Pakistan fetch water from a tap on the outskirts of Lahore on June 19, 2022, on the eve of "World Refugee Day". (ARIF ALI / AFP)

UNITED NATIONS – Between 2005 and 2020, the United Nations verified over 266,000 grave violations against children in more than 30 situations of conflict worldwide, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Tuesday in a new report.

The violations were committed against children by parties to conflict across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, the report revealed.

Between 2016 and 2020, the daily global average of verified grave violations stood at an alarming 71

Among the violations, the report found that between 2005 and 2020, more than 104,100 children were verified as killed or maimed in situations of armed conflict, over 93,000 children were verified as recruited and used by parties to conflict, and at least 25,700 children were verified as abducted by parties to conflict.

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The report, titled "25 years of children and armed conflict: Taking action to protect children in war", illustrated the impact of armed conflicts on children, while presenting trends of grave violations across the world and over time.

The annual number of verified violations gradually increased since 2005, the report found, noting that between 2016 and 2020, the daily global average of verified grave violations stood at an alarming 71.

"This report lays out in the starkest possible terms the world's failure to protect its children from grave violations during times of armed conflict," UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said in a press release.

"Grave violations devastate children, families, and communities — and they tear at the fabric of society, making it even harder to restore and sustain peace, security, and stability. We must refuse to accept violations against children as an unavoidable outcome of war," said Russell.

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Recommendations in the UNICEF report include how to better provide adequate care and response services to children affected by conflict, as well as ways to improve data disaggregation and analysis for better response and prevention.

In addition, the report called on parties to conflict, and states, to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.