Over 350 Million Children Live in Conflict Zones
More children than ever before live in conflict zones and are threatened with death and violence, the charity Save the Children said. The most dangerous places for young people are Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia.
At least 357 million children, or one in six children worldwide, live in conflict zones, an increase of 75 percent over the early 1990s, according to the organization's report. Enhanced urbanization, protracted conflicts, and the rise in the number of schools and hospitals that are targeted by attacks increase the danger to children, experts note.
Other hazards include kidnapping and sexual abuse. "We are seeing a shocking increase in the number of children growing up in conflict-affected areas and exposed to the worst forms of violence you can imagine," said Save the Children president Hele Thorning-Schmidt.
"Children suffer things that no child has to encounter - from sexual abuse to being used as a kamikaze in bomb attacks, their homes, schools and playgrounds become battlefields," said Torning-Schmidt, a former prime minister of Denmark.
UN data show that more than 73,000 children were killed or mutilated in 25 conflicts since 2005 when they started this statistic. Since 2010, the number of UN-confirmed murdered or crippled children has risen by nearly 300%.
However, according to volunteer organizations, the real figures are likely to be much higher given the difficulties in confirming data in conflict zones. "Save the Children" points out that the deterioration of the situation for children in conflict zones is due to the increasing urban fights and the increasing use of bombs in densely populated areas.
More brutal practices are directed towards children, such as sending suicide bombers to youths and the widespread use of weapons such as barrel bombs.
In the Middle East, two-fifths of children, or 40%, live in conflict zones. By this indicator, the region ranks first in the world, followed by Africa, where the share is 20%.
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