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230 million children live in conflicts around the world

Children live in conflicts; The number of children living in the scenes of the deadliest wars in the world increased by almost 10%

By Ground report
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230 million children live in conflicts around the world

The number of children living in the scenes of the deadliest wars in the world increased by almost 10% in 2021, reaching 230 million, according to a report released this Wednesday by the NGO Save the Children, which also states that one in every six minors on the planet, 449 million, live in an area considered to be in conflict.

Conflicts in world

Inger Ashing, the organization's CEO, said: “An average of 22 children a day were maimed or, worse, deprived of their lives” in that period. Although the document refers to 2021, in it the NGO warns that these figures will continue to "tragically increase" in 2022 due to the war in Ukraine.

The 40-page report, Stop the War on Children: The Forgotten Ones, documents serious violations of children's rights, including recruitment into armed forces and groups, kidnapping, sexual violence, denial of access to humanitarian aid, attacks on schools and hospitals, and killing and maiming. These abuses have a profound impact on their lives, ranging from physical trauma to psychological or death.

Many of these minors suffer injuries that cause permanent sequelae. This is the case of Zaid, a 9-year-old Yemeni boy who, five years ago, lost his leg in a bombardment, when he was playing outdoors with his friends and whose testimony was collected by Save the Children: "Before I was injured, I used to play football, run and play with my friends, but then the shell hit me. It's hard not to have one leg. Now I stay inside and play with my toys.”

Yemen top worst conflict-affected countries

According to Save the Children's analysis, Yemen topped the list of the 10 worst conflict-affected countries to be a child in 2021. This is based on the number of recorded grave violations, the intensity of the conflict, and the proportion and number of children who grow up. against conflict-related violence.

Despite an increase in the number of children living in the deadliest war zones, which recorded more than 1,000 battle-related deaths in a year, the total number of grave violations against children has declined since 2020, likely due to lack of reporting as a result of access restrictions.

The organization's report denounces, in fact, an unequal media coverage between that and other conflicts when compared to the war in Ukraine, which began with the Russian invasion on February 24. Between January 1 and September 30 of this year, Ukraine received five times more media coverage than the other ten countries most affected by conflicts combined, according to data from the Meltwater media monitoring platform, cited by the NGO in its document. During that period, Yemen got just 2.3% coverage of Ukraine.

Humanitarian Response Plans

The differences in media attention also have an impact on the collection of funds by the large financiers of international cooperation, such as United Nations agencies. The Humanitarian Response Plans —with which the UN assesses the financing needs of the different areas— have only managed to raise, on average, up to November of this year, 43% of the funds required by those 10 countries that suffer the worst conflicts, like aforementioned Yemen, among others. For example, on that date, the humanitarian needs of another war, that of Syria, had only been financed by 27.5%, while Ukraine had already obtained 68.1% of the money requested by humanitarian aid institutions.

The director of Save the Children International said the attention paid to the war in Ukraine is a lesson in all that can be done when there is enough collective political and financial will to ensure that children receive the help they need. “The world,” Inger Ashing advised, “must continue to protect the children of Ukraine while doing much more to ensure that children in other countries affected by conflict are cared for.”

By geographic area, in 2021, Africa had the highest number of children affected by conflict (180 million), followed by Asia (152 million) and the Americas (64 million). The Middle East has the highest proportion of minors in conflict zones (1 in 3). While, in 2021, Europe registered the lowest number and proportion of children affected by conflicts, this figure "will skyrocket in 2022 due to the escalation of violence in Ukraine," predicts the report of the international organization.

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