Schools and Hospitals Attacked in Conflict Zones Daily

Children endure horrors in conlicts zones. Here in South Sudan Children endure horrors in conlicts zones. Here in South Sudan AFP PHOTO/MSF/KAREL PRINSLOO

19 May 2016
Children are being abducted from their schools in horrific circumstances in countries like Nigeria and South Sudan, while others are being raped, or recruited and used as child soldiers.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an average of four schools or hospitals are attacked or occupied by armed forces and groups every day. The recent strike on a hospital in Aleppo, Syria on 27 April killed at least 50 people, including one of the last pediatricians in the area. In a press release, UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programmes, Afshan Khan stated, “Children are being killed, wounded, and permanently disabled in the very places where they should be protected and feel safe.” UNICEF also said that over the past year, the UN monitoring system had also documented so-called “double-tap,” or even “triple-tap” strikes on health-care facilities in which civilians, as well as the first responders arriving on the scene, are attacked. Khan called on governments and other actors to protect schools and hospitals by upholding the provisions of international humanitarian law and international human rights law that are currently put in place.

Such attacks have left nearly 75 million children living in areas affected by war or natural disasters with their education disrupted, leaving them prey to child labor, trafficking, and extremism. In Syria, more than 6,000 schools are out of use – attacked, occupied by the military or taken over as an emergency shelter. The U.N. Security Council took the first major step to prevent the victimization of young people in war zones in 2005 by approving a resolution to identify governments and armed groups that recruit child soldiers. In 2009, the council voted to name and shame countries and insurgent groups engaged in conflicts that lead to children being killed, maimed, and raped. Last June, the council further voted unanimously to name and shame governments and armed groups that abduct children.

Recently, the 'Education Cannot Wait' fund was created, aiming to raise $3.85 billion to reach 13.6 million children in need of education in emergencies within five years, and up to 75 million children by 2030. The fund was launched by the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), the U.N. Special Envoy for Education Gordon Brown, national governments, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), the Global Partnership for Education, and others.


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