1,000+ killed, tens of thousands wounded & made refugees
London – 7 August 2012
“Syria’s civil war has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 children; most of them shot or bombed in indiscriminate attacks by Syrian government forces. Some have been caught in cross-fire with anti-Assad fighters.
Thousands more have been wounded and are suffering from the psychological trauma of war – a devastating, tragic legacy that will last for generations,” said Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.
“Tens of thousands of children have been made refugees; having fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq to escape the violence.
“To protect children, and all civilians, there needs to be a UN and Arab League- supervised ceasefire, and a negotiated political settlement leading to free and fair elections.
“According to the United Nations, two million children have been killed in the last decade in conflict zones such as the Congo, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan. During much of this time, one child has been killed every three minutes.”
Watch Peter Tatchell interview Mark Waddington of the charity War Child, which is reaching out to the child victims of war worldwide and transforming their lives:
See this report from War Child: Syria – A War on Childhood:
“War is an extreme form of child abuse,” added Mr Tatchell.
“Millions of children are being killed, wounded, conscripted, orphaned, jailed and sexually abused in 30 conflict zones around the world.
“In the Congo alone, over four million people have died since the late 1990s – the biggest mass killing since the Second World War. Iraq has seen an estimated 650,000 deaths, coinciding with the invasion and occupation since 2003. Many of the dead in both these conflicts are children.
“Among the children most vulnerable to violence are young girls and LGBTs, and those who are HIV-positive, members of ethnic minorities and dissenting faiths, and those whose parents support political parties that are involved in conflicts.
“In addition to the children killed, the UN estimates that six million children have been permanently disabled as a result of conflicts over the last decade.
“In the same time-frame, at least 250,000 children have been conscripted into armies and militias in the Congo, Uganda, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. While boys become soldiers, girls are often exploited and abused as cooks, porters and sex slaves.
“In total, millions of children have been orphaned; hundreds of thousands have ended up living rough on the streets (there are an estimated 250 million street children worldwide); and tens of thousands of teenagers have been forced into the sex industry.
“The indirect effects of war can be as devastating as violence itself. Vast numbers of children are suffering malnutrition, due to the destruction of crops, livestock and food distribution networks.
“Many child refugees have died as a result of diseases caused by a lack of access to clean water and from the sometimes deliberate contamination of water supplies by opposing armies.
“There is also widespread child homelessness, following the bombing or burning of villages; and illiteracy as a consequence of the disruption of education following the destruction of schools and the murder of teachers,” said Mr Tatchell.