The United Nations believes that 315,000 grave crimes against children in armed conflict occurred between 2005 and 2022. This report, presented at the Oslo Conference on Protecting Children in Armed Conflict, sheds new light on the devastation caused by war and conflict throughout the world.
Over 32,500 children have been kidnapped, 105,000 have been coerced into the military or armed organizations’ service, and 16,000 have been sexually abused. The investigation also discovered that over 22,000 children were refused humanitarian assistance. There were about 16,000 attacks on educational and medical establishments.
According to the Unicef research, the number of fatalities is likely significantly greater than previously recorded. Because of the fighting, millions of children have been forced to flee their homes, separated from their family, or witnessed people they knew and trusted slaughtered. As UNICEF director Catherine Russell has observed, “any war is ultimately a war on children,” and greater safeguards for children in perilous situations such as war are urgently needed.
UNICEF has been working to safeguard and care for millions of children impacted by war. Case management for children in need of protection, family reunification, and assistance for young people who have experienced sexual or gender-based abuse are just a few examples of how they have aided. UNICEF provided services for the reintegration and protection of about 12,500 children who had served in the military forces or been members of armed organizations in 2022. Over nine million youngsters were also given guidance on how to be safe around explosive weapons and other conflict remains.
A new study was commissioned by UNICEF, Save the Children, the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, and the Global Child Protection Area of Responsibility to better understand how much money is available to meet the needs of children during times of armed conflict. According to the research, spending on child protection services would increase from $1.05 billion in 2024 to $1.37 billion in 2026.
However, given the current rate of humanitarian aid, the projected shortage may reach $835 million by 2024 and $1 billion by 2026. UNICEF asks states to commit to implementing existing international rules and norms to safeguard children during times of war. They demand that more resources be committed to child protection efforts and that children’s rights and well-being be prioritized in humanitarian operations.
UNICEF highlights the importance of a child protection response that is commensurate to the severity of the issues. They fight for comprehensive child protection services that build on existing institutions and communities to protect children’s rights, views, and best interests. In times of crisis, the organization stresses that everyone involved prioritizes the protection of children.