With the unleashing of over 135 child-suicide bombers on Nigeria northeast, and increase across the world, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has lamented there is no more safe places left for children, reports NaijaAgroNet.
UNICEF in its latest submission on the state of suffering by Children made available to NaijaAgroNet, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes, Manuel Fontaine, said that in northeast Nigeria and Cameroon, Boko Haram has forced at least 135 children to act as suicide bombers, almost five times the number in 2016.
NaijaAgroNet also gathered that millions more children are paying an indirect price for these conflicts, suffering from malnutrition, disease and trauma as basic services – including access to food, water, sanitation and health; as they were denied, damaged or destroyed in the fighting.
Also in the Central African Republic, UNICEF said that after months of renewed fighting, a dramatic increase in violence saw children being killed, raped, abducted and recruited by armed groups.
Over 2017 in the Afghanistan, almost 700 children were killed in the first 9 months of the year, while in the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, violence has driven 850,000 children from their homes, while more than 200 health centres and 400 schools were attacked. An estimated 350,000 children have suffered from severe acute malnutrition.
In Iraq and Syria, UNICEF said, children have reportedly been used as human shields, trapped under siege, targeted by snipers and lived through intense bombardment and violence.
Children in Myanmar, Rohingya region, UNICEF said, suffered and witnessed shocking and widespread violence as they were attacked and driven from their homes in Rakhine state; while children in remote border areas of Kachin, Shan, and Kayin states continued to suffer the consequences of ongoing tensions between the Myanmar Armed Forces and various ethnic armed groups.
For the South Sudan, NaijaAgroNet reports that conflict has seen to a collapsing economy which led to a famine declaration in parts of the country, more than 19,000 children have been recruited into armed forces and armed groups, and over 2,300 children have been killed or injured since the conflict first erupted in December 2013.
Whereas in Somalia, estimated 1,740 cases of child recruitment were reported in the first 10 months of 2017.
Just as in Yemen, nearly 1,000 days of fighting left at least 5,000 children dead or injured, according to verified data, with actual numbers expected to be much higher. More than 11 million children need humanitarian assistance. Out of 1.8 million children suffering from malnutrition, 385,000 are severely malnourished and at risk of death if not urgently treated.
UNICEF calls on all parties to conflict to abide by their obligations under international law to immediately end violations against children and the targeting of civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. UNICEF also calls on States with influence over parties to conflict to use that influence to protect children.
NaijaAgroNet recalls that across all these countries, UNICEF works with partners to provide the most vulnerable children with health, nutrition, education and child protection services.
Isaac Oyimah/ED, ops