Violations Against Children In Conflict Reach ‘Extreme Levels’, UN Says

VIOLENCE against children caught in multiplying and escalating conflicts reached “extreme levels” in 2023 with an unprecedented number of killings and injuries, including in the occupied Palestinian territory, a United Nations report has found.

Children were “killed and maimed in unprecedented numbers in devastating crises”, notably in the Gaza Strip, according to the report released by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday.

The annual Children and Armed Conflict report found “a shocking 21 percent increase in grave violations” against children under the age of 18 in an array of conflicts, such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Syria.

The UN verified 30,705 violations against children in 2023, affecting more than 15,800 boys and 6,250 girls. Some were subjected to multiple violations, the report said.

While armed groups were responsible for almost 50 percent of the grave violations, it said, “government forces were the main perpetrator of the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access.”

For the first time, the UN report put Israeli forces on its blacklist of countries that violate children’s rights over the killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals. It listed the armed groups Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad for the first time as well.

In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in 2023, the report said, 5,698 grave violations against children were attributed to Israeli forces, 116 to Hamas, 58 to unidentified perpetrators, 51 to Israeli settlers, 21 to Islamic Jihad, 13 to Palestinian individuals and one to Palestinian Authority security forces.

It said the process of verifying the attribution of 2,051 other violations was ongoing.

The Hamas-led October 7 attacks on southern Israel and Israel’s subsequent war on Gaza have led to a surge in grave violations against children, especially from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Gaza, the report said.

In the Gaza Strip alone, the report said, the UN verified the killings of 2,141 Palestinian children. It said, however, that about 9,100 children were reported killed in the territory “and verification is ongoing”.

Overall in the Palestinian territories, it said, “some 19,887 Palestinian children were reported killed or maimed and the reports are pending verification.”

The magnitude of the Israeli military campaign in Gaza “and the scope of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip have been unprecedented”, Guterres said, reiterating calls for Israel to abide by international law and ensure civilians are not targeted and that excessive force is not used.

The UN chief said he is “appalled by the dramatic increase and unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children in the Gaza Strip, Israel and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, despite my repeated calls for parties to implement measures to prevent grave violations”.

Previous articleBiden Pledges Not To Pardon Son, Hunter Or Commute Sentence
Next articleMessi To Miss Olympics But Leaves Door Open For 2026 World Cup


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here