Conflicts and Protection

Conflicts and Protection | | Movimento Globale per i Diritti dell’Infanzia

Conflicts and Protection
Every child has the right to live in peace and security and to be protected from all forms of violence and conflict.
Art. 34, 35, 36, 37, 38
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Every day, millions of children are directly affected by wars and armed conflicts. In 2022, approximately 468 million children (more than 1 in 6) lived in a war zone and half of these were on the frontline, within 50 km of the conflict. Unfortunately, with the recent escalation of extreme violence in different parts of the world, this number is steadily increasing. (UNICEF)

During a conflict, girls and boys are injured or killed, separated from their families and forced to witness scenes of unprecedented violence. Kidnapping, rape and exploitation of children as soldiers also occur in most war situations. For boys and girls, war is a particularly tragic catastrophe, because it forces them to leave their homes, destroys their schools, health centres, surroundings and environment. Even years after the end of a conflict, deep psychological wounds, accentuated poverty and lack of prospects remain. Unexploded mines and munitions remain a danger for future generations. (UNICEF)

Africa is still the continent with the highest number of children living in conflict zones: some 183 million. More than 200 days after the outbreak of the brutal war in Sudan on 15 April, children continue to pay the highest price for a crisis they did not create, increasingly with their own lives. Sudan now faces the largest crisis of displaced children in the world, with a record 3 million children fleeing widespread violence in search of safety, food, shelter and medical care - most within Sudan - while hundreds of thousands take refuge in large makeshift camps in neighbouring countries. None of the Sudanese children have been able to return to school and the future of an entire generation now hangs in the balance. As many as 19 million Sudanese children cannot return to classrooms, making this situation one of the worst education crises in the world. As in previous years, the Middle East continued to have the highest share of children living in conflict zones in relation to the total child population: 39% of minors in the region, or one in three. (UNICEF)

In Gaza, more children have died in just three weeks since 7 October 2023 than in all the world’s wars in one year. It is estimated that boys and girls account for over 40 per cent of those killed. The real toll is probably much higher, as there are thousands of missing children presumed to be buried under the rubble.

Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Ethiopia are other places where children have paid the highest price due to protracted armed conflict, violence and insecurity.

The failure to protect children in the most vulnerable situations and war zones is at the root of countries’ failure to achieve one of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): the promotion of peace.

The SDGs were adopted in 2015, but since then the number of children living in conflict zones has increased by almost 28%. The number is now steadily increasing and has almost doubled since the mid-1990s. In fact, not since 1948 have there been so many armed conflicts in so many areas of the world, nor so many child victims of war.

Exposure to conflict negatively and crucially affects all Convention rights. It has catastrophic effects on the lives of children, leaving deep physical wounds and psychological damage that affect entire generations. The adult world, in the knowledge that every war is always against children, must act in accordance with international and humanitarian law to always ensure protection and a welcoming and safe environment in which to grow up.


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Defence for Children international Italia
Sede legale e sociale: Piazza Don Andrea Gallo 5-6-7 R - 16124 Genova
Sede operativa: Via Bellucci 4-6, 16124 Genova
010 0899050