Nigeria is among 12 most dangerous countries for children in conflict, a new report by Save the Children International has said.
Other countries listed in the report released on Friday are Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, DRC, Mali, CAR, Iraq, South Sudan and Sudan.
In the report, Save the Children said 25 children, the equivalent of a classroom full of pupils, have been killed or injured on average every day.
It further disclosed that over 4,400 times humanitarian organisations were denied access to children – six times as often as in 2018.
“A total of 93,236 children have been killed or maimed in conflicts in the last 10 years, with more than three million children living in an area where violence had been raging for 18 years or more.
“The number of children recruited by armed forces rose by 639 from 2018 to 7,845 in 2019. Over 3,100 children were found to have been recruited in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone.
“Many were victims of airstrikes, shelling, landmines and other explosive weapons used in populated areas where families have been ripped apart and tens of thousands of children left dead or scarred for life.
“Last year alone, more than a third of the verified child casualties were caused by explosive weapons – with the number dramatically higher in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” said Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International in the report.
According to the report, in 2019 some 426 million children lived in a conflict-affected area – a slight increase on the year before.
It stated that around 160 million children lived in a high-intensity conflict zone, also an increase compared to 2018.
The impact of explosive weapons on children is complex, Ashing said, robbing families of their hopes and their ability to access vital services, and often profoundly altering the direction of a child’s life.
The report launched on World Children’s Day is the fourth in a series entitled Stop the War on Children.
Ashing noted that it shines a spotlight on six grave violations committed against children in conflict zones (see footnote for details)
“Over the past decade, more than 200,000 such violations were verified. The record was sadly broken in 2019, which saw 26,233 grave violations committed. The actual number is likely to be even higher as some violations, notably sexual abuse, are grossly underreported,” Ashing said.