A UAE newspaper has said that children hold a special place in any society. They are to be protected. All children have the right to live free from violence, which harms their physical and mental growth.
“Unfortunately, the situation on the ground reflects a grim scenario that children are facing,” said The Gulf Today in an editorial on Friday.
The paper continued, “In the first four months of 2018 alone, hundreds of children lost their lives and many more were wounded in countries ranging from the Central African Republic to South Sudan, and from Syria to Afghanistan.
“With defenceless children increasingly targeted in conflicts, the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has rightly called on all warring parties around the globe to comply with international law and keep them safe from harm.”
The paper quoted Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, as saying, “With little remorse and even less accountability, parties to conflict continue to blatantly disregard one of the most basic rules in war: the protection of children.”
The rules of war unambiguously prohibit the unlawful targeting of civilians, attacks on schools or hospitals, the use, recruitment and unlawful detention of children, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. When conflicts break out, these rules need to be respected and those who break them need to be held to account.
Besides children caught in fighting, millions more are at the risk of starvation, abduction, child recruitment, abuse and displacement. Many are also losing their lives to deadly diseases that could have been prevented.
As per UN officials, in Syria, over 5.3 million children are internally displaced or refugees outside its borders, and nearly 850,000 children continue to live in besieged or hard-to-reach areas.
The situation is equally worrisome in South Sudan, where in addition to displaced and acutely malnourished children, some 19,000 young people continue to be used as fighters, messengers, porters, cooks and even sex slaves by warring parties.
Problems come in varied forms for children. For example, this year 4.7 million children are at risk of dropping out of school across South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya displaced from homes and schools because of the dual drivers of hunger: drought and conflict.
“Children are inheritors of the future and deserve a better and peaceful planet. Every society has a major responsibility to protect children. Excuses just won’t work. Any lapse on the part of the present generation to offer children the best protection and care would prove to be a blot on entire humanity,” concluded the Sharjah-based daily.