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UN urges world to protect children in conflict

'If you want to protect your image, protect children,' Ban says

Canberk Yüksel   | 02.08.2016
UN urges world to protect children in conflict

New York

UNITED NATIONS 

The United Nations on Tuesday urged member states to help protect the 250 million children affected by war around the world.

"The global security landscape continues to change dramatically – but one grim reality does not: children still pay the highest price in wartime,” Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said during an open debate on children and armed conflict. "If you want to protect your image, protect children."

Those children are in hot spots such as Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen and "suffer through a living hell", Ban said. "And in many cases, it is getting even worse," he added.

The head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake said: "Over 30 million have been displaced by conflict. Millions more have been scarred physically and emotionally by violence, witnessing the worst of humanity, things no child should see."

Lake said the numbers "paint a devastating picture".

The UN on Tuesday published its annual report on children and armed conflict, marking the 20th anniversary of the first report and the establishment of the office of the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict.

According to the report, which covers the January-December 2015 period, violence against children increased significantly in many countries.

Afghanistan recorded its highest rate of child casualties since 2009, the report says, and in Somalia, recorded violations increased by 50 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Palestinian and Israeli children continue to suffer due to a decades-long conflict, and this year's report, much like the previous one, continues to urge Tel Aviv to ensure accountability.

The report also shines a light on the violence in Yemen after a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of nine states intervened in the country in March 2015 to affect the outcome of the civil war.

In Yemen, six times as many children were killed and maimed in 2015 compared to just one year prior -- and five times as many were recruited to fight the report said.

As a result, Ban announced that coalition members were removed from the report's annexes in what he called a "very difficult decision", apparently prompted by actions incompatible with protecting children as a UN-sanctioned review of what is happening on the ground continues.

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