The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that 25 schools in Nigeria have been attacked, while 1,440 students have been abducted since January 2021.
UNICEF released a report on Tuesday ‘Children in West and Central Africa among those Who Suffer Highest Rates of Grave Violations in Armed Conflict’.
Since 2016, the West and Central Africa region ranks:
· first in the world in terms of number of children verified as recruited and used by non-state armed groups and victims of sexual violence
· ranks second in terms of abduction
· as one of the regions most affected by attacks on schools and hospitals, with more than 1,500 verified incidents
The data was revealed in a new UNICEF publication that calls for increased support for efforts to prevent and respond to grave violations against children, as well as for scaling-up the documentation of such violations.
It said since 2016, the regions have recorded more than 21,000 children verified by the United Nations (UN) as recruited and used by armed forces and non-state armed groups, and more than 2,200 child victims of sexual violence.
“More than 3,500 children were abducted and more than 1,500 incidents of attacks on schools and hospitals were recorded,” the report reads.
“In Nigeria, there have been 25 attacks on schools so far this year, with 1,440 students abducted. Nigerian children continue to suffer the impact of crisis. A protracted conflict has been raging in north-east Nigeria for 12 years now. Thousands of children in the region have been killed, maimed, abducted, displaced, and experienced multiple violations of their human rights.”
According to the report, Phuong Nguyen, UNICEF chief field officer in Maiduguri, described the situation as “unacceptable”.
“Nigerian children – whether they are the direct targets of violence or collateral victims of conflict – are caught up in the ongoing insecurity we are seeing across the country. This is unacceptable,” Nguyen said.
“This important report shows the extent of the grave violations of children’s rights in Nigeria and across the West and Central Africa region – violations that must be ended by all parties to conflict.
“Children must have an opportunity to grow, learn, work and contribute to the healthy future of this country. That can only happen if they are protected from violence and the worst impacts of conflict.”
“Nigerian children continue to suffer the impact of crisis. A protracted conflict has been raging in north-east Nigeria for 12 years now. Thousands of children in the region have been killed, maimed, abducted, displaced, and experienced multiple violations of their human rights.
“In 2005, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1612 to establish a United Nations mechanism for monitoring and reporting on the following six grave violations against children during armed conflict: 1) killing and maiming of children, 2) recruitment and use of children, 3) abduction of children, 4) rape and other forms of sexual violence committed against children, 5) attacks on schools and hospitals, and 6) denial of humanitarian access.”