Wed. Sep 20th, 2023

Opinion by Elias Batirtze

The United Nations has warned that the violations committed against children in armed conflicts are at an alarmingly high level, even as the international community strives to put an end to such tragedies. Virginia Gamba, the Secretary-General’s special representative for children and armed conflict, recently reported to the Security Council that children continue to face alarming levels of violations, including abductions, killing, maiming, recruitment for use in armed conflicts, and denial of humanitarian access in conflict zones.

The numbers are truly staggering, as the UN verified nearly 24,000 grave violations in 2021, and the special representative noted that these numbers are likely to continue to rise as the UN evaluates incidents from 2022. The continuous cycles of violence and conflict that are becoming more intense, frequent, and complex are contributing to this alarming state of affairs, and Gamba emphasized that it will be critical to understand and identify the pre-existing risks and vulnerabilities to children in order to protect them and prevent violations of their rights.

One of the biggest contributors to the vulnerability of children in armed conflicts is the lack of education and future prospects for their livelihoods. Children who face poverty are often at the greatest risk of forced military recruitment by armed groups and gender-based violence. Furthermore, an effective prevention of violence requires a strategic and proactive approach at the community, national, subregional, regional, and global levels that addresses all the risks and stresses the factors that provide protection against the continuum of violence, with a view to effectively protecting every conflict-affected child.

The Security Council, under the chairmanship of Malta for the month of February, has noted that despite progress in combating violations against children, they continue to be committed on an alarming scale. Children should be seen as the future of our world and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are protected from harm. To that end, it is critical that the international community take a unified approach to protecting the rights of children in armed conflicts and addressing the underlying causes of violence.

The world can no longer turn a blind eye to the devastating impact that armed conflicts have on children. It is imperative that we take action to address the root causes of these conflicts and ensure that children are no longer subjected to the horrific violations they currently face. We must work together to provide a brighter future for these children and ensure that they are given the opportunity to grow and thrive in peace and security.

It is time for us to come together to protect the rights of children and ensure that they are no longer subjected to the horrors of armed conflict.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author.
They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the AMeAR|News, R2iNTEL or its members.

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