The 2020 high number of children used as soldiers in armed conflicts

Children queuing behind barbed wire Children queuing behind barbed wire Photo by Janeb13 on Pixabay

22 June 2021

UN warns about a great number of violations against children occurred in 2020, among which their recruitment in war

 According to the last UN report, violations against around 19,379 children were committed in 21 conflicts during 2020. Among these violations, the most common is the recruitment of them as soldiers. More than 8,500 children were deployed on the battlefield last year in various conflicts across the world and nearly 2,700 others were killed, according to the UN’s statement.

Escalation of conflict, armed clashes and disregard for international humanitarian law and international human rights law had a severe impact on the protection of children. U.N. chief Antonio Guterres' annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict covers the killing, maiming and sexual abuse of children, abduction or recruitment, denial of aid access and targeting of schools and hospitals which occurred last year. The report states that the highest number of violations were perpetrated in Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Mainly, it verified that the highest number of violations is given by recruitment in war: indeed, 8,521 children were used as soldiers last year, while another 2,674 children were killed and 5,748 injured in various conflicts. Moreover, the report states that these violations affect boys and girls differently. Whereas 85 per cent of children enrolled in the armieswere boys, 98 per cent of sexual violence was perpetrated against girls. Still today, the recruitment is a common phenomenon in many countries in conflict: Albawaba lastly has claimed that in Yemen thousands of children have been recruited from school, often forcibly, and sent to fight as first-wave attackers, with the aim of wearing down pro-government forces before more experienced fighters attack.

In order to encourage countries’ action on this situation, the UN report also includes a blacklist intended to shame parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures to protect children. Despite the startling statistics, the report shows concrete progress in dialogues with warring parties in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Sudan and Syria.





Author: Jasmina Saric; Editor: Gianpaolo Mascaro

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