According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), children have not been at greater risk since the Declaration was adopted 34 years ago. Today, nearly 400 million children (one fifth of that population) live in or flee conflict zones.
Elizabeth Borrego Rodriguez
“Unfortunately, children today live in a world that is increasingly hostile to their rights,” said UNICEF Director Catherine Russell.
“Many,” she says, “are being wounded, murdered or raped. They are losing family and friends. And some are being recruited and used by armed forces or groups.” At the same time, an increasing number are being displaced multiple times, separated from their families, losing critical years of education and links to their communities.
Unicef is deeply concerned that this adverse scenario coincides with the increase in poverty and inequality, public health emergencies and the climate crisis. More than one billion children currently live in countries that are at extremely high risk from the impacts of climate change.
This means that half of all children could suffer irreparable damage as our planet continues to warm, the Unicef chief insisted.
Among other consequences, children face the threat of losing their homes or schools due to increasingly violent storms, suffering severe deterioration due to the loss of local crops, or even losing their lives due to heat waves or pneumonia caused by air pollution.
The head of the United Nations, António Guterres, wrote on his Twitter account (X): “Wars, climate change, economic turmoil. Crisis after crisis, children around the world are being robbed of their lives and their futures. Children need peace now.” For its part, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in commemoration of World Children’s Day, called for a ceasefire and a return to the foundations of humanitarian law to safeguard the youngest.
Nearly 5,000 children have been killed in Gaza in just five weeks. This war has claimed the lives of more children in less time and with a level of brutality that we have not witnessed in recent decades.
According to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, thousands die in armed conflicts in many other countries, including Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, Haiti, Sudan, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
“Verified figures show that in 2022, the global number of children killed or maimed was 8,630,” Russell said.
This is a matter of deep concern given the fact that up to 4,000 minors were denied humanitarian access last year.
Given the current situation in Gaza, the total number of child victims of these serious human rights violations will increase exponentially, the Committee warns. PL
(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: email@example.com) – Photos: Pixabay