GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE CHILDREN

Preview Language:   Original
08-Sep-2023 00:03:39
Amid record levels of violence against children in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sounded the alarm today that the country has the world’s highest number of children being raped and killed on a daily basis. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / DRC VIOLENCE CHILDREN
TRT: 3:39
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 08 SEPTEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:
1. Med shot, UN flag alley, UN Geneva
2. Wide shot, speakers behind podium at the press conference
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“Violence against children in eastern DRC has reached unprecedented levels. There are few worse places, if any, to be a child. The country has the world’s highest number of UN-verified grave violations against children in armed conflicts. And these numbers represent, really, only the tip of the iceberg.”
4. Wide shot, speakers behind podium, attendees at the press conference, screens with speakers
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“They are twins and they are currently just over 1 year old. So when they were found they were only a few months old. This was indeed a booby trap. So, when they were found we basically got in touch with the anti-mine personnel, colleagues, who came and were able to take these devices off safely.”
6. Med shot, attendees at the press conference, screens with speaker
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“More than 2.8 million children are bearing the brunt of this humanitarian crisis in the East. I’m here today, I hope, to sound the alarm. On a daily basis, children are being raped and killed. They are being abducted, recruited and used by armed groups.”
8. Med shot, attendees at the press conference
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“The lives of children in the eastern DRC are threatened by epidemics and malnutrition. Around 1.2 million children under five in the East are facing the risk of severe acute malnutrition. Epidemic outbreaks are growing with DRC experiencing its worst cholera outbreak in more than five years and measles are on the rise particularly around 12 provinces with 780000 cases as of August this year.”
10. Med shot, attendees at the press conference
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“There are schools which are directly attacked, so they can be shot at or burned down and sometimes literally looted and destroyed. But there are far greater numbers where schools are being used by internally displaced people who have no other available options for shelter. And the third category is where the schools are not being looted but the teachers are themselves among the displaced.”
12. Med shot, Speakers behind podium at the press conference
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“This is one of the richest places on earth underground. It is absolutely full of strategic minerals that the entire world is benefiting from. All of our cellphones are on a Coltan from eastern DRC.
14. Wide shot, attendees at the press conference, screen with speaker
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Grant Leaity, Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
“There is an acceptance of something which is unacceptable. So the solution, the real solution, to the root cause is not simply to scale up the humanitarian response. We need to find political solutions so that we can get to a peaceful existence for the population of eastern DRC.”
16. Various shots, press conference

STORYLINE:
Amid record levels of violence against children in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) sounded the alarm today (08 Sep) that the country has the world’s highest number of children being raped and killed on a daily basis.

“Violence against children in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo has reached unprecedented levels,” said Grant Leaity, UNICEF’s Representative in the DRC.

Speaking at the United Nations in Geneva, he said that there were “few worse places, if any, to be a child. The country has the world’s highest number of UN-verified grave violations against children in armed conflict and these numbers present only the tip of the iceberg.”
After visiting a centre for children released from armed groups in Beni, North Kivu, the UNICEF official reported that he had met one-year-old twins that were found abandoned in their village, desperately malnourished and attached to an explosive belt. All of their family members were killed in an attack by one of the many armed groups operating in the eastern DRC. The expanding use of improvised explosive devices is just one of several recent, depraved trends, he said.

“They are twins, and they are currently just over one year old,” Leaity said. “When they were found, there were only a few months old. This was indeed a booby trap. We got in touch with the anti-mine personnel colleagues who came and were able to take these devices off safely.”

This upsurge in violence and conflict in the country’s east has also resulted in the worst displacement crisis in Africa, and one of the worst globally this year.

Among the six grave violations against children in armed conflicts reported on by the UN, two saw a sharp increase in the last 12 months in eastern DRC: the recruitment of children by armed groups and killing and maiming of children. “More than 2.8 million children are bearing the brunt the of the humanitarian crisis in the east. I am here today to, I hope, sound the alarm,” Leaity continued. “On a daily basis, children are being raped and killed. They are being abducted, recruited and used by armed groups.”

In the first three months of 2023 in North Kivu alone, more than 38,000 cases of sexual- and gender-based violence were reported, which is a 37 percent increase compared to the same time in 2021. This represents 10,000 additional reports of sexual and gender-based violence reported in one year for North Kivu.

In addition to the devastating violence, around 1.2 million children under five in eastern DRC face the risk of severe acute malnutrition, according to UNICEF. The country is also experiencing its worst cholera outbreak in more than five years “and measles (is) on the rise particularly around 12 provinces with over 780,000 cases as of August this year”, Leaity said.

According to UNICEF, around 2,000 schools have closed in the eastern DRC in the last 12 months as result of the latest uptick in violence.

“There are schools which are directly attacked, so they can be shot at or burned down and sometimes they are literally looted and destroyed,” explained the UNCEF representative. “But there are far greater numbers where schools are being used by internally displaced people who have no other available options for shelter.” He added that “the third category is where the schools are not being looted but the teachers are themselves amongst the displaced.”

UNICEF requires $400 million for the coming six months to scale up the humanitarian response in eastern DRC. This appeal has only received one percent additional funding since the emergency scale-up was announced in June this year.

“This is one of the richest places on earth on the ground. It is absolutely full of strategic minerals that the entire world is benefiting from,” Mr. Leaity said. “All of our cell phones are run on coltan from eastern DRC.” He added that “there is an acceptance of something which is unacceptable. So, the real solution to the root cause is not simply to scale up the humanitarian response. We need to find political solutions so that we can get to a peaceful existence for the population of the eastern DRC”.
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