UN verifies over 19,100 child victims of grave violations in armed conflict in 2021

The UN has verified 23,982 grave violations against children in armed conflict in 2021, which affected 19,165 children in the 21 country and regional situations it monitored, according to a report of the UN Secretary-General, which was recently released.

Of the 23,982 grave violations, 22,645 were committed in 2021 and 1,337 were committed earlier but verified in 2021. Of the affected children, 13,633 were boys, 5,242 were girls, 290 were sex unknown.

The highest numbers of violations were the killing and maiming of 8,070 children, followed by the recruitment and use of 6,310 children and 3,945 incidents of denial of humanitarian access, says the report.

Conflict escalation; the multiplication of armed actors; the use of mines, improvised explosive devices, explosive remnants of war and explosive weapons in populated areas; intensified humanitarian crises; and violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law had a severe impact on the protection of children. Cross-border conflicts and intercommunal violence affected children, in particular in the central Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions, while coups and takeovers aggravated the situation of children in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Myanmar and Sudan, says the report.

The highest numbers of grave violations were verified in Afghanistan, Congo, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, it says.

The number of cases of abduction increased by more than 20 per cent and cases of sexual violence against children continued to increase, by more than 20 per cent in 2021. The number of attacks on schools and hospitals increased by 5 per cent in a context of school closures, the military use of schools and disregard for children’s right to education and health, it says.

Non-state armed groups were responsible for 55 per cent of violations, state forces for 25 per cent, and the remainder of the violations resulted from crossfire, the use of improvised explosive devices, explosive remnants of war and landmines, or were committed by unidentified perpetrators, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 25 per cent of child casualties resulted from improvised explosive devices, explosive remnants of war and landmines, for a total of 2,257 child casualties, says the report.

Whereas 70 per cent of children affected by grave violations are boys, the number of violations affecting boys has decreased, while the number of girls who were casualties of killing and maiming, or subjected to abduction and sexual violence, increased, particularly in the Lake Chad Basin. Cases of sexual violence continued to be vastly underreported, owing to stigmatisation, the fear of reprisals, harmful social norms, the absence of services, impunity, the lack of humanitarian access and safety concerns. Children with disabilities and displaced children were particularly vulnerable, says the report.

“Beyond the work and efforts of all partners, ultimately the key to ending and preventing grave violations against children is, without a doubt, peace. The peaceful resolution of conflict, the search for common ground and dialogue, remains the fastest and best way to reduce and ultimately end all grave violations against children,” said Virginia Gamba, the UN Secretary-General’s special representative for children and armed conflict.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here