File photo of young recruits of the New People’s Army (NPA), known as child warriors, while training in undisclosed training camp in Mindanao.
Sourced from the net by Tracy Cabrera
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND — Caught in the crossfire of war, millions of children around the world are growing up in conflict and they are often uprooted from home or exposed to extreme trauma, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).
With these children uniquely vulnerable to abuse, it is much harder for them to access healthcare or education, especially amidst the ongoing coronavirus global pandemic that has wreak havoc on the world’s economies, and much too often, warring parties in their countries flout one of the most basic rules of war: the protection of children.
So, what does a better future look like to a young person who has lived every day amidst violence, uncertainty, and displacement? What does peace mean for a child who has grown up experiencing little, if any?
With its Poems for Peace project, UNICEF now gives children a chance to explain in their own words and express their true feelings regarding their trauma and plight as different conflicts surround them and have an impact on their lives.
And UNICEF realizes the seriousness of the problem and recent developments like the continuing health crisis brought about by the spread of novel coronavirus (nCoV) is taking a toll on the lives of children.
“Covid-19 is making this worse. School closures have heightened the risk of recruitment by armed groups. Border closures and interrupted global supply chains have intensified existing access restrictions. And a distracted world risks turning a blind eye to attacks on children,” the UN agency pointed out.
But by amplifying the voices of children living in conflict, UNICEF is highlighting the extraordinary strength and courage of some of the tens of millions of young people longing for a more stable future.
This is in line with the celebration of World Poetry Day (March 21), during which the world is being urged to celebrate the power of poetry in reminding us of the beauty that surrounds us and the resilience of the shared human spirit.
Attacks on children continue unabated, however, and the number of countries experiencing violent conflict is the highest it has been in the last 30 years. The result is that more than 30 million children have been displaced by conflict. Many of them are being enslaved, trafficked, abused, and exploited. Many more are living in limbo, without official immigration status or access to education and health care. From Afghanistan to Mali, to South Sudan, Yemen and beyond, warring parties persist on promoting that their agenda revolves around the protection of children.
“And yet, children have become frontline targets. This is a moral crisis of our age: We must never accept this as the ‘new normal’,” UNICEF underscored.
“In times of crisis, children suffer most. The Covid-19 pandemic is no exception. Poverty and malnutrition are rising, inequality is growing, and the pandemic is upending the essential services that secure the health, education, and protection of our children and young people,” the agency added.
“Even before the pandemic hit, conflict and climate change were driving an unprecedented growth in the number of children in need of humanitarian assistance. Now, Covid-19 is making the situation even worse, threatening to create a lost generation.”
In conclusion, UNICEF said that coinciding with World Poetry Day, its Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 sets out an ambitious agenda to address the major challenges facing children living through conflict and crisis. (AI/MTVN)