Violations against children "intensifying" warns UN special representative

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On 5 August 2016 in Aleppo, Syria, a child with spinal muscular atrophy who needs special medical care, now lives on the streets, after fleeing with her family from attacks and intense fighting in the 1070 neighbourhood. Photo: UNICEF/Khuder Al-Issa

Violations against children caught up in conflict are "intensifying" and severely impacting their lives.

That's the view of Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who submitted her annual report to the General Assembly on Wednesday.

Matthew Wells reports.

The annual report highlights the "devastating impact on children of increasingly complex conflicts" around the world between August last year and July 2016.

Ms Zerrougui said that the "collective failure to prevent and end conflict is severe" when it comes to children and the violations against them were "directly related to the denigration of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law."

During the past year, Afghanistan recorded the highest number of child deaths and injuries since the UN began systematically documenting casualty figures in 2009.

The Special Representative called on the General Assembly to pay special attention to fulfil the promise to children contained in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Adequate resources were needed she said for education in emergencies, and to support disabled children caught up in conflicts.

Violent extremism had turned many children into direct targets of terrorist acts she said and posed huge protection challenges while terrorist groups control large swaths of territory.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

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