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"Never have so many children been subjected to such brutality"

Translated Friday 23 January 2015, by D. Phillips

The year 2014 is a “devastating year” for children,” stated UNICEF on Monday, which spoke of 15 million minors taken into conflicts in the Central Africa Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria Ukraine and in the Palestinian territories.

Anthony Lake, Director General of the United Nation Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) emphasized in a press release that the succession of crises is a constant reminder of the tragic situations which prevail in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic a Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. In total, UNICEF estimates that up to 230 million children live in countries or regions affected by armed conflicts.

"Some children are killed while studying in class or sleeping in their beds. They lose their parents, they are abducted, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent history have so many children been subjected to such horrific brutality”. Significant threats to the health and well-being of children have emerged this year, beginning with the hemorrhagic fever Ebola in West Africa, which created thousands of orphans and deprived five million of an education. "Violence and trauma do more than damage the children, they undermine the strength of our societies”, says the UNICEF’s Director General.

In the Central African Republic, where one fifth of the population has been displaced due to violence, 2.3 million children are affected by the conflict and it is estimated that up to 10,000 of them would have been recruited by armed groups over the past year, of which 430 were killed or maimed. In the Gaza Strip, 538 children perished, 3,370 others were injured and 54,000 children lost their homes during fifty days of conflict between Hamas and Israel last summer. UNICEF estimates that in Syria, more than 7.3 million children are affected by the civil war of which 1.7 million have escaped the country. In Iraq, there would be 2.77 million affected by the violence of which 700 were killed or maimed this year. “In both these countries, the children were victims, witnesses or even perpetrators of increasingly extreme and brutal violence”, reports the organization. In South Sudan, 750,000 children were displaced by the fighting and 320,000 live in refugee camps. More than 600 children have been killed there and more than 200 were mutilated this year, while about 12,000 in total serve in armed groups.

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