Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Children – The Victims of Conflicts

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Children – The Victims of Conflicts

Last year has been deadly for people in general and for children in particular. Children suffered severely in conflict zones and fell victim to war and violence in many parts of the world. They were denied their rights and dignity. All warring sides, including governments and anti-government parties, violated their rights in some ways or the other.
To view the Thursday’s attack in Kabul, which was claimed by the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a large number of children were killed and wounded in cold blood. After all, the suicide bomber is also said to be a child, which reflects the fact that scores of children are recruited by the militants to be used in wars. Their blood is shed, their honor is trampled upon, and they are used as pawns in political games.
According to the UN children’s agency, children in conflict zones suffered “at a shocking scale” around the world in 2017 as they became the front line targets; used as human shields, killed, wounded and recruited to fight. Children fell victim to rape, forced marriage, abduction and enslavement in different parts of the world, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Myanmar, said UNICEF. The rival factions in conflict areas were accused for flagrantly disregarding international laws that are designed to protect the most vulnerable. The agency warned that millions more children were paying an indirect price for conflicts, suffering from malnutrition, disease and trauma as basic services, including access to food, water, sanitation and health.
“Our appeal is, as UNICEF, to all fighting parties, whether they are governments or rebel groups, to make sure the children are protected,” UNICEF’s deputy director Justin Forsyth is cited as saying.
According to reports, violence has driven 850,000 children from their homes and an estimated 350,000 children have suffered from severe acute malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region.
In Yemen, nearly 1,000 days of fighting left at least 5,000 children dead or wounded with more than 11 million children in need of humanitarian assistance.
In South Sudan, where conflict and a collapsing economy led to a famine declaration in parts of the country, more than 19,000 children have been recruited into armed forces and armed groups, the statement said. Over 2,300 children have been killed or injured since the conflict first erupted in December 2013.
The militants largely violate the human rights of children and exploit them on a large scale. They lose their lives in terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. One the one hand, the children easily fall for the bogus claim and ideological indoctrination of radical parties. On the other hand, they are targeted by the militants and lose their lives in Improvised Explosive Device (IED), suicide bombings, airstrikes, etc.
The reports about the children’s casualties are highly shocking. They are used as fuel in war and violence. Since children are not able to raise their voice in terms of injustice and atrocities, they are doomed to grin and bear it. Female children are particularly left at the mercy of militancy and injustice for two main reasons: First, because they are children and their rights are underestimated. Second, they are discriminated on the basis of their gender, especially by the militants who practice upon a highly misogynistic view.
The Thursday’s attack in Kabul filled many mothers with an outpouring of grief. They shed bitter tears over the dead bodies of their children – who were killed in cold blood. In the event, you could see not only the dead bodies of children, but also small hands and legs scattered around that would fill you with a strong sense of hatred toward the atrocities of mankind.
Needless to say, involving children in conflicts, be it through recruiting or targeting, is war crime. That is to say, the parties engaged in conflicts are not observing the rule of war. They show respect neither to international instruments nor to the life of people.
The endemic violation of children’s rights and their involvement in conflicts will be a stain on public conscience. There seems no end to their susceptibility to civil unrests or global conflicts. Streams of their blood are shed around the globe. Considering all these issues, it will be a great disgrace for human societies to simply count the fatalities of children rather than protecting their rights or alleviating their sufferings. Moreover, it is believed that the international community does not take a concrete step to stop the gross violation of children’s rights. If violators of children’s rights are not prosecuted or if no sanction is imposed on the countries trampling upon children’s rights, the same trend will continue, which is highly outrageous.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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