By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The United Nations Children’s Fund ((UNICEF), has said that 2019 was ‘deadly decade’ for children in conflict zone.
UNICEF in a statement issued yesterday said it recorded more than 20,000 grave violations against Nigerian children.
The statement issued by Eliana Drakopoulos, its Chief of Communications, Advocacy and Partnerships said since the start of the decade, the United Nations has verified more than 170,000 grave violations against children in conflict – the equivalent of more than 45 violations every day for the last 10 years.
It added that in Nigeria’s north-east, the figure is almost 20,000 in the last seven years.
“Ten years of conflict in Nigeria’s north-east – closely coinciding with the decade about to end – has seen a massive level of violations against Nigeria’s children in the region. These include killings, maiming, abductions, rape, severe psychological trauma, and extreme disruption of their education – leaving them vulnerable possibly for the rest of their lives,” said Pernille Ironside, UNICEF Nigeria’s Acting Representative.
“Children should never be a target in any armed conflict – and everything must be done to protect children when they find themselves in areas of conflict. Sadly, this has too often not been the case during the conflict in north-east Nigeria, with children paying the heaviest price for the ongoing crisis.”
Beyond Nigeria, the statement said the number of countries experiencing conflict is the highest it has been since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, with dozens of violent armed conflicts killing and maiming children and forcing them from their homes.
“Conflicts around the world are lasting longer, causing more bloodshed and claiming more young lives,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s Executive Director. “Attacks on children continue unabated as warring parties flout one of the most basic rules of war: the protection of children. For every act of violence against children that creates headlines and cries of outrage, there are many more that go unreported.
“In 2018, the UN verified more than 24,000 grave violations against children globally, including killing, maiming, sexual violence, abductions, denial of humanitarian access, child recruitment and attacks on schools and hospitals. While monitoring and reporting efforts have been strengthened, this number is more than two-and-a-half times higher than that recorded in 2010.”