World, Middle East

UN reports on brutality of Syrian war on children

Commission of Inquiry for Syria finds that eight-and-a-half-year war has 'erased the dreams of children'

Peter Kenny   | 16.01.2020
UN reports on brutality of Syrian war on children A Syrian boy looks through handle of a cooking bowl as they queue to receive food aid in Idlib, Syria in October, 2019. Muhammed Said - Anadolu Agency )


The brutal war in Syria has robbed children of their childhood as they are forced to participate in and endure numerous violations of their rights, according to a UN report released Thursday.  

The latest report for the UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria released its findings at the UN in Geneva, noting that children in Syrian remained "acutely vulnerable to violence and abuse." 

The 25-page report, entitled "They have erased the dreams of my children", with commission chair Paulo Sergio Pinheiro describing the circumstances it recounts as a "disgrace" and "scandal". 

In the report, the three-person commission outlines violations on children's rights in the conflict, with over five million minors displaced internally and abroad.

"I am appalled by the flagrant disregard for the laws of war and the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all parties involved in the conflict," said Pinheiro. 

"While the government of the Syrian Arab Republic has the primary responsibility for the protection of boys and girls in the country, all of the actors in this conflict must do more to protect children and preserve the country's future generation," he noted. 

In an excerpt, the report said: "Robbed of their childhood and forced to participate in a brutal war, children have been killed and maimed in vast numbers." 

It underlined that in addition to regularly targeting children using sniper fire, regime forces have also deployed cluster munitions, thermobaric bombs, and chemical weapons, often against civilian objects such as schools and hospitals. 

"The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIS/Daesh] terrorist group subjected girls as young as nine to sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence and systematically recruited and used children for direct participation in hostilities," said the report. 

It added that the group also launched indiscriminate attacks on towns and villages that killed and injured scores of children. 

"Most emblematically, children were both victims of public executions and forced into the role of executors by the group," said the report. 

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic comprises of Pinheiro, Karen Koning AbuZayd, and Hanny Megally.

They were mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate and record all violations of international law since March 2011 in Syria.

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