UN reports the highest jump in ‘grave violations’ against war-affected children


Children experienced the highest number of “grave violations” in conflicts verified by the United Nations in 2022, with the conflicts between Israeli and Palestinians and in Congo and Somalia putting the most youngsters in peril, the UN children’s agency said.
UNICEF also expressed particular concern about their plight in Haiti, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ukraine, where Russia has been put on the UN blacklist.
“Grave violations” include the recruitment and use of children by combatants, killings and injuries, sexual violence, abductions and attacks on schools and hospitals.
Omar Abdi, UNICEF’s deputy executive director, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that more than 27,000 grave violations, up from 24,000 the previous year, are the highest number verified by the UN since its monitoring reports began in 2005. The number of conflict situations “of concern” was also the highest — at 26.
Since the report, Abdi said, a serious conflict has erupted in Sudan where over 1 million children have been displaced by violent conflict and the UN has received reports that hundreds have been killed and injured. He also said UNICEF expects an increase in Palestinian children affected due to recent escalations in violence.
Government and parties to conflicts are not fulfilling their commitments to protect children, and meaningful and unambiguous action is needed, according to the UNICEF official. In his yearly report to the council late last month, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put Russian forces on the UN’s annual blacklist of countries that violate children’s rights in conflict for killing boys and girls and attacking schools and hospitals in Ukraine. But the UN chief did not put Israel on the blacklist for grave violations against 1,139 Palestinian children, including 54 killings last year — as supporters had hoped — saying the UN welcomed its “identification of practical measures including those proposed by the UN” to protect children.