Child casualties on the rise: UN
A report on Children and Armed Conflict, released by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday, said 1,756 children were killed or injured due to the conflict in 2011, representing an average of 4.8 children killed or injured per day, compared with 1,396 in 2010.
“The death or maiming of a single child is a tragedy. This level of avoidable suffering of children, as is presented in the secretary general’s report, is simply unacceptable,” said Vidhya Ganesh, UNICEF deputy representative in Afghanistan.
“It is imperative that all parties to the conflict do everything they can, right away, to protect the lives and the basic rights of the children of Afghanistan,” she added.
According to the report, last year, 316 children under the age of 18 were reportedly recruited by fighting groups, with the majority of cases attributed to armed opposition.
Children have been used to conduct suicide attacks, plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and to transport provisions to armed groups.
UNICEF urged all armed opposition groups to stop recruitment of those under the age of 18 and called on the government to ensure continued focus on the implementation of the action plan to prevent underage recruitment into the Afghan forces.
“UNICEF is deeply concerned about this trend and repeats its call to all parties to the conflict to ensure that children are protected at all times and in accordance with international humanitarian law,” said Ganesh.
UNICEF also urged all parties to clarify their policies and procedures to minimise civilian casualties, including children, and asked Afghan and coalition forces to ensure adequate, Afghan-owned civilian casualty tracking and mitigation policies are put in place and implemented soon.
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