UN reports over 7,000 child lost their lives in Syria since 2013
Virginia Gamba, the special representative for children in conflict, told the Security Council that since the beginning of 2018, the UN has verified over 1,200 violations against children.
The United Nations has verified that more than 7,000 children have lost their lives or been injured in the Syrian conflict since 2013 and cites unverified reports putting the number "way beyond 20,000," a UN envoy said today.
Virginia Gamba, the special representative for children in conflict, told the Security Council that since the beginning of 2018, the UN has verified over 1,200 violations against children. These include more than 600 children killed or maimed and over 180 recruited or used by government forces or armed groups, she said.
Compared to the last quarter of 2017, Gamba said the first quarter of 2018 saw a 348 percent increase in killing and maiming of children, a 25 percent increase in recruitment and military use of children, and a 109 percent increase in overall grave violations against youngsters.
"The indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks by all parties, of which the latest tally is 88, including the use of weapons prohibited under international law, aerial attacks, mortars and rockets, indiscriminate shelling and improvised explosive devices, have been used against civilian areas and civilian infrastructures and have had a deadly toll on children," she said.
As examples, she cited sexual abuse and exploitation of boys and girls, the sale of children as sexual slaves, rape as a means of torture, and forcible marriage to fighters from the Islamic State extremist group.
Gamba urged the Security Council to put pressure on all combatants in Syria to immediately take action to prevent child casualties including by halting indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks, ensure that detained children are treated "primarily as victims," and comply with international law.
"The prolonged exposure to war has immediate and hugely detrimental effects on the psychosocial wellbeing of children," Gamba warned.
She urged the international community to prioritize funding for education at all levels and mental health and protection programs for Syrian children.
"No one must be left behind, especially those that — through no fault of their own — have been robbed of their most important developmental years," Gamba said.
"It is time for the children of Syria to believe in their own future and to learn what peace means." (AP) KIS
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