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Published On: Fri, Dec 29th, 2017

Conflict: UNICEF condemns brutal attack on children in 2017

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By Ese Awhotu with agency report

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has expressed shock at the scale of attack on children in conflict zones throughout 2017.
The UN body noted that it is “shocking” under international law and immediately end violations and attacks against children.
This is even as it called on all parties to conflict to abide by their obligation
UNICEF position was heralded yesterday in a statement on the UN News Centre saying that, “Children are being targeted and exposed to attacks and brutal violence in their homes, schools and playgrounds,” said Manuel Fontaine, the Director of Emergency Programmes at UNICEF, in a news release Thursday.
“As these attacks continue year after year, we cannot become numb.
Such brutality cannot be the new normal.”
According to UNICEF, children have become frontline targets, used as human shields, killed, maimed and recruited to fight in conflicts around the world.
Sexual violence, forced marriage, abduction and enslavement have become “standard tactics,” in conflicts from Iraq, Syria and Yemen, to Nigeria, South Sudan and Myanmar, said the UN agency.
In addition to the physical trauma children have had to suffer, far too many children have been subjected to the psychosocial trauma in having to witnesses shocking and widespread violence.
UNICEF noted that hundreds of thousands have been displaced and many children have died as a result of lack of health care, medicines or access to food and water, because these services and were damaged or destroyed in fighting.
In some contexts, children abducted by extremist groups experience abuse yet again upon release when they are detained by security forces, added UNICEF.
In the news release, the UN agency underscored the need of 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 called on all States with influence over parties to conflict “to use that influence to protect children.”

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