3.6 Million Iraqi Children at Risk from Increasing Violence: UN
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A UN report revealed that 3.6 million children in Iraq, meaning one in five, are at the serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into Takfiri militant groups wreaking havoc in the crisis-hit Arab country.
In a Thursday statement titled “A Heavy Price for Children”, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) announced that the number of children in danger of such hazards has soared by 1.3 million in 18 months, describing Iraq as “one of the most dangerous places in the world for children.”
“Children in Iraq are in the firing line and are being repeatedly and relentlessly targeted,” UNICEF's Iraq representative, Peter Hawkins, said, adding, “We must help give children the support they need to recover from the horrors of war and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous Iraq.”
The UNICEF report further disclosed that a total of 1,496 children have been kidnapped in Iraq since the past two-and-a-half years, when the foreign-sponsored militancy gripped the country, adding that the number translates to 50 children abducted on a monthly basis, with many forced into militancy or sexual exploitation.
“The kidnapping of children from their homes, their schools and from the streets is horrifying. These children are being ripped from their families and are subjected to sickening abuses and exploitation,” Hawkins said, Press TV reported.
The UN children's agency also revealed that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children – almost 10 percent of the minor population – have been uprooted, often multiple times, since the beginning of 2014.
Additionally, almost 3.5 million children growing up in conflict zones are missing out on education, and nearly one in five schools is out of use due to structural damage.
The UN agency called for an urgent action to protect children’s rights in Iraq, particularly an immediate cessation of killing, maiming and abduction of minors by Takfiri groups.
The UN body also demanded an unhindered and unconditional humanitarian access to children all across Iraq, education for out-of-school children through catch-up classes, as well as increased access to learning and educational materials to teachers and children.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by gruesome violence ever since Daesh terrorists mounted an offensive in the country in June 2014.
Iraqi government forces, backed by fighters from allied Popular Mobilization Units, have been pushing the militants out of the country’s territory.