The United Nations Children Emergency Fund has described 2014 as a year of horror, fear and extreme violence for millions of children across the world. Specifically, the international organisation said 230 million children currently live in countries and areas affected by armed conflicts. The UNICEF, in a statement, listed abductions, rape, human trafficking and the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease as some of the occurrences in the year with crushing effects on the well -being of children around the world.
The UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said, “This has been a devastating year for millions of children. Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves. Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality.’’ Lake noted that as many as 15 million children were caught up in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the State of Palestine.
He also lamented that 25 years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child was established, violence and trauma against children had continued to escalate. He said, “It is the sadly ironic that in this, the 25th anniversary year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child when we have been able to celebrate so much progress for children globally, the rights of so many millions of other children have been so brutally violated. “Violence and trauma do more than harm individual children- they undermine the strength of societies. The world can and must do more to make 2015 a much-better year for every child. For every child who grows up strong, safe, healthy and educated is a child who can go on to contribute to her own, her family’s, her community’s, her nation’s and indeed, to our common future.’’
Despite these challenges, the UNICEF said it had worked with other humanitarian organisations to deliver 68 million doses of the oral polio vaccine to countries in the Middle East, treated 70,000 children who were suffering from severe malnutrition as well as initiated a campaign to get 662,000 children back to school in the Central African Republic.