The UN heard testimony from a former child soldier about the cruel realities of war

В ООН заслушали свидетельства бывшего ребенка-солдата о жестоких реалиях войны

Boys who left armed groups in DR Congo. The UN heard testimony from a former child soldier about the cruel realities of war Peace and Security

A former child soldier forced to join an armed group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has called on the Security Council to work together to help children affected by conflict. He stated this while speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation of children in armed conflicts.

“You can protect children, help them gain access to education and health care, and protect them from violence when their rights are violated, especially in areas under the control of armed groups,” he addressed the global community .

Speaking on condition of anonymity and through a translator, the 16-year-old called on diplomats to strengthen measures to protect minors in conflict zones so that children like him never have to actively participate in hostilities and face the horrors of war.

Increasing number of violations

The United Nations verified 32,990 serious violations against 22,557 children in 2023, the highest number ever violations for almost ten years. The Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, briefed Council members on Wednesday on the Secretary-General’s annual report on the topic.

According to the report, 5,301 children were killed and another 6,348 maimed and/or injured, a 35 per cent increase compared to previous years. There was also a sharp increase in the recruitment and use of children in conflict in 2023, with 8,655 cases verified. Abductions continued at a high level, with 4,356 children verified in 2023, according to the report, which we covered earlier.

The Special Representative said that rape and other forms of sexual violence increased by 25 per cent last year, affecting 1,470 children, particularly girls. Girls are typically recruited or abducted for sexual exploitation and then repeatedly abused, she added.

The Special Representative highlighted the plight of children in Sudan, noting that the country’s armed forces and the Rapid Intervention Force had been annexed to the report due to the killing and maiming of children, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals.

Violations in Palestine and Israel

The conflict in the Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel has escalated to unprecedented proportions, causing unimaginable suffering for thousands of children, Gamba said. The number of violations increased by 155 percent, with 8,009 confirmed serious cases involving 4,360 children, according to the UN. Some 23,000 more reports of abuses against Palestinian and Israeli children are being verified.

Secretary-General blacklists Israeli military and security forces in report for killing children , maiming them and attacking schools and hospitals, as well as Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades in connection with the killings, maimings and kidnappings of children, Gamba told UN Security Council members.

For his part, UNICEF official Ted Chaiban called on the parties to the conflict to “fulfill their obligations to protect children and immediately cease fire, as called for by the Council in its resolutions 2712 and 2725.”

International responsibility

“There should be no impunity for those who commit crimes against children anywhere in the world, be it states or armed groups, autocracies or democracies,” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking as Vice-Chairman of the Council of Elders. “Such differences mean nothing to the parents of murdered children or to the institutions charged with upholding international justice,” he said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *