Millions of children suffered under extreme violence, destruction and forced displacement in 2014, the UN Children’s Fund said in a statement Monday.
“Never in recent history were so many children exposed to such unspeakable brutality,” UNICEF director Anthony Lake said, referencing children who had been kidnapped, tortured, raped or sold into slavery.
UNICEF reported that more than 15 million children suffered from violence in current conflict areas of Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR).
According to the aid organization, tens of thousands of children have been forcibly recruited or abused by armed groups, and attacks on schools and hospitals in many places have increased.
The 50-day war between Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip killed 583 children and injured more than 3,000, while in Iraq at least 700 children have been estimated to have been injured, killed or even executed this year.
Civil war has affected more than 7.3 million children in Syria alone, including 1.7 million refugee children, while the conflict in the CAR has hit 2.3 million, according to UNICEF.
The organization estimates that 230 million children worldwide live in countries and regions experiencing armed conflicts. SAPA