Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – The annual UN report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), released, details the devastating impact that various forms of conflict had on children around the world in 2021.
The dangers outlined in the report range from conflict escalation, military coups, and takeovers, protracted and new conflicts, as well as violations of international law. Cross-border conflict and intercommunal violence also impacted the protection of children, especially in the Lake Chad Basin and Central Sahel regions.
The report highlights almost 24,000 verified grave violations against children, an average of some 65 violations every day. The killing and maiming of children was the most verified grave violation followed by the recruitment and use of children and the denial of humanitarian access.
The places where most children were affected by grave violations in 2021 were Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
“There is no word strong enough to describe the horrific conditions that children in armed conflict have endured”, said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba.
“Those who survived will be affected for life with deep physical and emotional scars. But we must not let these numbers discourage our efforts. They should serve as an impetus to reinforce our determination to end and prevent grave violations against children. This report is a call to action to intensify our work to better protect children in armed conflict and ensure that they are given a real chance to recover and thrive”.
- The report highlights 23,982 verified grave violations against children overall. For 15 per cent of those violations, perpetrators could not be identified, making subsequent accountability extremely challenging.
- At least 5,242 girls and 13,663 boys were victims of grave violations in 21 country situations and one region. At least 1,600 of those children were victims of multiple violations.
- 8,070 children were killed or maimed, increasingly by explosive remnants of wars, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines, which affected some 2,257 children.
- Children continued to be recruited and used, with 6,310 children affected.
- 3,945 incidents of denial of humanitarian access were verified.
- In some contexts, access and security constraints hampered verification efforts for all grave violations.