The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, is deeply concerned by the recent escalation of the conflict in Iraq and calls upon all parties to protect children and to take all measures necessary to immediately end and prevent all grave violations against children.

“I am especially concerned by the increasing violence and its impact on children,” said Leila Zerrougui. “We have received worrisome information that children are taking part in hostilities.”

In 2013, three children were killed every other day in attacks, shelling, or in cross-fire, more than double the number of children killed and maimed in 2012. This recent wave of hostilities could inflict an even higher toll with children killed or injured, displaced, or separated from their families. The number of children dying in attacks on civilians committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other armed groups, as well as indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas by Government forces is increasing at an alarming rate.

ISIS and affiliated organisations are listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict for recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming of children, and attacks on schools and hospitals in Iraq. As the intensity and scale of violence increases, children are recruited and used by militias on all sides. Incidents of underage boys being armed, manning checkpoints, and in some cases used as suicide bombers have been documented.

The Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict calls upon all parties to ensure that the rights of children are upheld and calls for an end to all actions that puts the lives of children at risk.

For additional information, please contact:
Stephanie Tremblay, Communications Officer
Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General
for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-212-963-8285 (office)
+1-917-288-5791 (mobile)

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