The War On Children

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THE WARON CHILDRENASLDASØØDLTime to end graveviolations againstchildren in conflict.

CONTENTSForeword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3PART 11.1 Definitions Used in this Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41.2 Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71.3 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81.4 Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12PART 2: MAPPING 20 YEARS OF GRAVE VIOLATIONSAGAINST CHILDREN IN CONFLICT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132.1 Conflict Trends. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152.2 Trends in Grave Violations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 181. Killing and maiming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 202. Children associated with armed forces and groups. . . . . . . . 223. Sexual violence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244. Abduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265. Attacks on schools and hospitals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 286. Denial of humanitarian access. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30PART 3: WHY ARE CHILDRENINCREASINGLY HARMED BY CONFLICT?. . . . . . . . . . . 333.1 Recommendations: What can be done toprotect children from the horrors of war? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:This report was written by Mariam Kirollos, Caroline Anning, Gunvor Knag Fylkesnesand James Denselow from Save the Children, with Mariam additionally providing in-depth analysis of 20 years of UN Children and Armed Conflict reports.We would like to thank the research team from the Peace Research Institute in Oslo(PRIO) for their background report “Children and Armed Conflict: What ExistingData Can Tell Us”. The research team members, led by Gudrun Østby, are KarimBahgat, Kendra Dupuy, Siri Aas Rustad, Håvard Strand and Tore Wig.We are grateful to colleagues from across Save the Children for comments andinputs that have helped improve and enrich the report, as well as colleagues whoproduced case studies for this report.Graphs: NyhetsgrafikkDesign: Amund Lie Nitter2SAVE THE CHILDREN Save the ChildrenInternational 2018This publication is copyright,but may be reproduced byany method without fee orprior permission for teachingpurposes, but not for resale.For copying in any othercircumstances, prior writtenpermission must be obtainedfrom the publisher, and a feemay be payable.

FOREWORD“All wars, whether just or unjust, disastrous orvictorious, are waged against the child.”EGLANTYNE JEBBThe founder of Save the Children utteredthese unforgettable words almost onehundred years ago and they remain true tothis day. She was standing up for childrenwho were starving in Germany and Austriabecause of a blockade imposed by the Alliesin the aftermath of the First World War. Thecourage of Eglantyne, to challenge powerfulgovernments including her own in the UnitedKingdom, started a global movement forprotecting children in conflict.Now, more than at any time in the last twodecades, we need to find that same strengthto stop the suffering of children affectedby war. Our report reveals that one in sixchildren live in conflict zones – and those357 million live at risk of grave violations.The number of children verified by the UNas killed or maimed has risen drasticallyin the last 10 years. Reports of life-savingaid such as food, water and medicine beingblocked are up more than 1,500 percentsince 2010. Attacks on what should, by anylaw or civilized standard, be safe places forchildren – such as schools and hospitals – arealso becoming a new normal in conflicts, withreported incidents having roughly doubled inthe last decade.Save the Children is particularly concernedabout the fates of those children living inwhat are ranked as the most dangerous conflict-affected countries: Syria, Afghanistan andSomalia top this list, with the Middle East andAfrica being the worst regions for childrenthreatened by war.Yet violent conflict can occur in any region,and we see new and disturbing situationsemerging every year. The recent horrorsinflicted on Rohingya children in Myanmar,almost 400,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh for the relative safety of refugee camps,is a case in point. I have met some of thesechildren and Save the Children has told theirstories to the world while we work to helpthem recover. These children have seen andexperienced things no child ever should: theirhomes burnt, their families killed and theirinnocence stolen.It is time to end the ‘War on Children’ forgood. Everyone with the power to make adifference must ask and answer the samequestion Eglantyne Jebb did, almost a centuryago: what can we do to save children fromthe scourge of war? This report proposesfour areas for concerted action: investmentin preventing children from being put at risk;upholding of international laws and standards; intensified action to hold violators toaccount; and an increased effort to rebuildthe lives of children shattered by conflict.For each area, we are proposing practicalrecommendations that states and non-stateactors can act on to ensure that children areprotected.We face a stark choice. Will we stand bywhile more children die at their school desksand in their hospital beds, are denied thelife-saving assistance they need to surviveor are recruited into armed groups? Or willwe fulfil the promise to the next generation,set forth in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, andbuild a better world whereall c hildren can live, learn andthrive in peace?Helle Thorning-SchmidtCEO of Save the ChildrenInternationalWAR ON CHILDREN3

1.1 DEFINITIONSUSED IN THIS REPORTThis report uses the Uppsala Conflict Data Program(UCDP)1 definitions of conflict. The UCDP is the world’sforemost provider of data on organized violence, and itsGeoreferenced Event Dataset and other datasets informthis research.Conflict/ armed conflict: when armed force is usedby an organized actor against another organized actor,or against civilians, resulting in at least 25 battle-relateddeaths in one calendar year. The definition includes threetypes of conflict: State-based conflict takes place between twostates (inter-state conflict), or between one stateand one or more rebel groups (civil conflict). Non-state conflict is fought between two organ-ized, armed actors, of which neither is the government of a state. One-sided violence is perpetrated by an organ-ized armed group, either a state’s military forcesor an armed group, against civilians.Conflict incidents/ events: conflicts usually consist ofseveral conflict events – a conflict event is defined as alethal incident, either a violent clash between two armedgroups or an attack on civilians by a group/groups, at agiven time and place.Conflict zone/ area impacted by conflict: areaswithin 50km from where one or more conflict incidentstakes place in a given year, within the borders of acountry.Battle-related deaths: the use of armed force between warring parties in a conflict, be it state-based ornon-state, resulting in deaths. We use the term to includeboth combatant and civilian deaths, unless otherwisespecified.Children living in conflict-affected areas/ conflict-affected children: the children that reside withinconflict zones, areas within a distance of 50km or lessfrom where conflict incidents are occurring.Children: we use the definition from the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which defines children as‘individuals under the age of eighteen years’.The six grave violations are: killing and maiming,r ecruitment and use of children, sexual violence, abduction, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denialof humanitarian access.Children in Syria are living in one of the mostdangerous conflict- affected countries in the world. PHOTO: KHALIL ASHAWI/SAVE THE CHILDREN4SAVE THE CHILDREN



1.2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARYThis report identifies concerning trends for the safetyand wellbeing of children living in areas impacted byconflict, through analysis of the United Nations Annual Reports of the Secretary General on Children andArmed Conflict (CAAC) and new research by the PeaceResearch Institute Oslo (PRIO).2 The research utilizesfigures that are published, independently verified andcredible, but one of the key findings of the data mappingprocess is that there is a significant and worrying gap inchild-specific data in conflicts.Although all warring parties are obliged to protect children, in conflicts around the world heinous attacks arecommitted against children on a daily basis, for whichthe perpetrators are not being held to account. What ismore, many of these violations are increasing, driven bybrutal conflicts like the war in Syria. There is an urgentneed for action to end what is too often a war on children.There are significant limitations and variations indata collection across conflict contexts, but someof the trends are clear: for example, there hasbeen an escalation in the number of UN-verifiedcases of killing and maiming of children, with anincrease of nearly 300 percent since 2010. Thenumber of incidents of denial of humanitarian access has also risen 15-fold in the same period,and there has been a growing trend of abductions. We also see, despite improved international legaland normative standards to protect children,that increasingly brutal tactics are being utilized– including the use of children as suicide bombers,direct targeting of schools and hospitals and thewidespread use of indiscriminate weapons likecluster munitions, barrel bombs and improvisedexplosive devices (IEDs). The psychological impact of toxic stress on chil-The key findings of the report are:dren living in conflict zones is profound and canlead to a vicious cycle of conflict, in which the nextgeneration struggles to rebuild peaceful societiesfollowing the trauma of violence. The number of children living in a conflict zonehas increased by more than 75 percent from theearly 1990s when it was around 200 million, tomore than 357 million children in 2016 – around1 in 6 of the world’s children. 165 million of thesechildren are affected by high intensity conflicts.Children living in such conflict-impacted areas often lack access to school and health facilities, andare more exposed to violence. The nature of modern conflict is changing, andit is changing in a way that often protects soldiers more than civilians. This report explains anincrease in reported grave violations against children mainly due to the crisis of compliance, lackof monitoring and reporting, increase in urbanwarfare and the use of explosive weapons in populated areas as well as increased conflict intensity,duration and complexity. While the majority of the world’s conflict-affect-ed children live in Asia, the Middle East is wherechildren are most likely to live in a conflict zone.In 2016, about 2 in 5 children in this region wereliving within 50km of a conflict event in theircountry, and children in Syria, Iraq,Yemen andother warzones in the region are at high risk ofall six grave violations. Africa is second, with 1 in 5children affected by conflict. Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia are at the top ofour ranking of the 10 most dangerous conflict-affected countries to be a child in 2016, the latestyear for which comprehensive data is available.This is assessed based on factors including rates ofthe six grave violations and share of children livingin conflict in that country.Therefore, we strongly recommend that states, militariesand all actors with influence over the lives of childrenin conflict commit to take practical action on four keythemes: Preventing children being put at riskUpholding international laws and standardsHolding violators to accountRebuilding shattered livesThe specific policy recommendations under these themesare set out in section 3.1. The findings of this report arestark, and the message is clear – we need to take concerted, collective action to turn back the tide of brutalityand indifference and better protect children in conflict. By many metrics, children are more at risk inconflict now than at any time in the last 20 years.WAR ON CHILDREN7

1.3 INTRODUCTIONThere are approximately 350 million children livingin areas affected by conflict today, according to newresearch carried out by the Peace Research Institute inOslo (PRIO) for this report.Many of these children have been subjected to unimaginable suffering. They are not just caught in the crossfireor treated by combatants as expendable collateral damage, but often deliberately and systematically targeted.They are killed, maimed, and raped. They are bombedin their schools and in their homes. They are abducted,tortured, and recruited by armed groups to fight and towork as porters, cooks and sex slaves.Children also suffer the indirect consequences of conflict.Children living in conflict-affected settings are less likelyto be in school or have access to basic sanitation andclean water, and more likely to die in childhood due tounder-nutrition and a lack of medical care, includingvaccinations. Recent studies have shown high levels oftoxic stress* in children who have lived in or fled fromwar zones, which can have a lifelong impact on theirmental health and development. Around the world,untold millions of childhoods have been torn apart byconflict-related violence.In 1996, following a series of brutal and indiscriminatewars, Mozambique’s first post-independence educationminister Graça Machel wrote a ground-breaking UNreport3 which forcefully set out the need to better protect children in conflict. She was building on a century ofwork w

children are most likely to live in a conflict zone. In 2016, about 2 in 5 children in this region were living within 50km of a conflict event in their country, and children in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other warzones in the region are at high risk of all six grave violations. Africa is second, with 1 in 5 children affected by conflict. Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia are at the top of our ranking .

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