Health Desk—Oct 07, 2017: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday it’s unacceptable and appalling that more than 8,000 children were killed and injured in conflicts last year from Syria and Yemen to Congo and Afghanistan and urged combatants to do more to protect boys and girls.
The UN chief said in his annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, obtained by The Associated Press, that the United Nations verified 3,512 child casualties in Afghanistan, over 40 percent of the total and “the highest number ever recorded” in the country.
Guterres said the recruitment and use of children in conflict more than doubled in Somalia and Syria compared with 2015. And the UN verified 169 incidents affecting at least 1,022 youngsters in South Sudan — over 60 percent of them recruited and used by government security forces, he said.
The secretary-general said the number of violations against children committed by extremist groups — al-Shabab, Boko Haram, the Islamic State and the Taliban — totaled more than 6,800.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement that Guterres is “appalled” not only by the more than 8,000 youngsters killed and injured and the recruitment of children but by sexual violence against girls and boys and attacks on schools and hospitals.