A United Nations report has revealed that violence against children in conflict zones increased by 20 per cent in 2021.
In the report published on Monday, July 11, the UN listed sexual violence, rape, mutilation, murder, abductions and the recruitment of child soldiers as violence against children.
The annual report indicated that abductions and rape increased in 2021.
The report reviewed activities in several countries in conflict and identified in an annexe titled “List of Shame” those responsible for the violations, state and non-state authorities, and armed groups.
Due to the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Ethiopia and Mozambique, the report added them among countries that require urgent attention.
In 2021, the United Nations identified 23,982 severe violations of children’s rights, mostly against boys, with 22,645 committed in 2021 and 1,337 earlier but only confirmed in 2021, according to the document.
It said countries such as Mali, Nigeria, and the Philippines made progress in freeing incarcerated or recruited children.
The report noted serious violations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel and Palestinian territories, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have reacted negatively to the UN report.
Jo Becker, an official of Human Rights Watch, said the report did not give any significant information on the cruel violations of which the children were victims in those conflicts.
“Its omission of Israeli forces who were accused of murdering 78 Palestinian children in 2021 and having mutilated 982 others, from the ‘List of Shame’ is another missed occasion for it to render an account, whereas other forces or armed groups were listed for lesser violations,” Becker said.
Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, an NGO statement, also deplored a willingness to minimise the responsibility of Israel and regretted a “flagrant disregard” for the lives of children in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Ukraine, other countries devastated by war.
Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of Antonio Guterres for children in armed conflict, reacted to the criticisms regarding Israel.
Gamba noted during a press conference that the UN had warned Israel that it would be placed on the “List of Shame” for 2022 if the country did not improve.
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