The wars between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as those in the Congo and Somalia, put the most children at risk in 2022, according to the U.N. Children’s Agency, which reported on Wednesday that children experienced the highest number of “grave violations” in conflicts that the organization had confirmed.
Additionally, UNICEF raised major concerns about the condition of children in Haiti, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Ukraine, where Russia has been placed on the U.N. “blacklist.”
“Grave violations” include kidnappings, assaults on schools and hospitals, sexual violence, killings, and the participation and exploitation of children as combatants.
The U.N. Security Council was informed by Omar Abdi, the deputy executive director of UNICEF, that more than 27,000 grave violations—up from 24,000 the year before—are the most the organization has been able to confirm since its monitoring reports first started in 2005. With 26, there were also the most “of concern” conflict incidents.
Since the publication of the study, a significant conflict has broken out in Sudan, displacing over 1 million children, according to Abdi, and the U.N. has received reports of hundreds of deaths and injuries. He added that due to the current spike in violence, UNICEF anticipates a rise in the number of Palestinian children affected.
“Meaningful and unambiguous action” is required because the government and warring parties are failing to uphold their obligations to protect children, the UNICEF official added.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put Russian forces on the U.N.’s annual blacklist for violating children’s rights in conflict, including killing boys and girls and attacking schools and hospitals in Ukraine. However, he did not put Israel on the blacklist for grave violations against 1,139 Palestinian children, including 54 killings last year.
The U.N. special envoy for children in armed conflict, Virginia Gamba, reported 27,180 grave violations in 2022 against 18,890 children, including 8,620 killed or injured, 7,622 recruited or used by governments or armed groups, 3,985 abducted, and 1,165 girls raped, forced into marriage, sexual slavery, or assaulted.
She said, “We must take more action to stop and protect our kids from the horrors of armed violence.
According to US deputy ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the report shows that states around the world “have not done nearly enough to protect children from the impacts of conflicts.” The American president stated that the country is “keen” to see this matter “elevated, enhanced, and better integrated into all of the Security Council’s work.”
DeLaurentis cited the many kids who were forcibly taken from their families and transferred to Russia as evidence that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine, particularly against children. And he added that “Russian forces continue to attack areas where children are present, including schools, hospitals, and residential buildings.”
Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s U.N. ambassador, accused Western media organizations of using the protection of children “for a dirty information campaign to slander the Russian Federation.”
Insisting there is “no factual basis” to accuse Russia of violating children’s rights, he charged Guterres with making “a political decision” to place Russian forces on the U.N. blacklist rather than Ukrainian military forces.
Nebenzia said that since 2014, the Ukrainian military has killed and injured children in the eastern regions of the nation, seized by Russia, including Luhansk and Donetsk. She also claimed that the U.N. and other organizations have disregarded Moscow’s concerns over Ukraine’s activities. He claimed that Russia had created a parliamentary commission to look into allegations of child abuse by Ukraine.