It is severely disturbing to hear about children been targeted or killed during armed conflicts of any form; whether a civil war, ethnic or religious violence, terrorist attacks or insurgency.
I was severely disturbed when I read the news of children being killed in attacks in Syria and Central African Republic (C.A.R)
At least 10 children were among 19 people killed in a Syrian regime air raid on a school in Aleppo, an attack described by the UN’s humanitarian chief as a horrific violation of law.
According to the UK-based Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-government monitoring group, Wednesday’s attack hit the Ein Jalout school in the east of the city. Activist videos showed the bodies of the 10 children laid out in a local hospital, wrapped in sheets, and bulldozers removing rubble from the smashed building.
Thousands of Syrian children have died in the three-year conflict, which began as an uprising against President Bashar al- Assad’s rule and has now become a civil war in which more than 150,000 people have died and millions have been displaced.
Aleppo has borne the brunt of the violence.
Forces loyal to Assad have carried out air raids and dropped crude barrel bombs in rebel-held districts in the eastern part of the city, at times hitting schools, mosques and markets.
In C.A.R, unidentified gunmen killed at least 15 people, including children, near a border with Chad amid inter-communal violence. The area of the attack, Markounda is now empty as the inhabitants have fled into the bush, the fields and neighbouring villages.
Despite the presence of French and African peacekeepers, thousands have died in inter communal violence in the vast, former French colony and close to a million have been displaced.
This also directs my mind to the mass kidnaping of almost 300 girls in Nigeria by the radical islamic sect, Boko Haram. These school girls have been missing for more than two weeks now. These girls would most likely be subjected to various forms of physical, sexual and domestic violence. This creates a tremendously high level of concern.
• Attacks and violence against children during conflicts is a very serious concern. Children are extremely vulnerable in the face of these crises and can not protect themselves. Therefore, irrespective of the situation in the region of the conflict, some measures must be taken to protect the children. The international community must not close its eyes to violence and deaths of children anywhere in the world. The UN has and should keep playing an active role as a watchdog in monitoring and ensuring the safety and well being of children during conflicts.