Five times more children than fighters are being killed in conflicts, new Save the Children report reveals
At least 550,000 babies are thought to have died as a result of armed conflict between 2013 and 2017 in the 10 worst-affected countries, according to new analysis by Save the Children — an average of well over 100,000 every year. DR Congo and South Sudan – where most of the nearly 1.2 million refugees in Uganda come from – are both listed in the 10 worst countries.
The infants succumbed to indirect effects of conflict and war such as hunger, damaged infrastructure and hospitals, a lack of access to health care and sanitation, and the denial of aid. They probably would not have died if they hadn’t been living in areas affected by conflict, Save the Children says.
In total, 870,000 children under five years old have died in conflict areas in this period – five times as many as the number of fighters killed (almost 175,000).
The numbers are published in a new Save the Children report, Stop the War on Children, which reveals that more children – almost 1 in 5 globally – are living in areas affected by armed conflict and war than at any time in more than 20 years.
Brechtje van Lith, Save the Children’s Country Director in Uganda, said: “This report shows the sheer horror and brutality that children who flee to Uganda are escaping. Uganda has been a safe haven for refugee children for many years and it’s vitally important that this continues. Many of these children arrive scared and vulnerable, sick and malnourished, and emotionally scarred by the violence they have witnessed. We must do all we can to protect them from further harm and help rebuild their future.”
The report shows that the number of ‘grave violations’ against children – being killed or maimed; recruited by armed groups; abducted; falling victim to sexual violence; seeing their school attacked; or humanitarian aid denied – has almost tripled since 2010. In many cases, children are specifically targeted, and children in DRC and South Sudan are particularly vulnerable.
Save the Children comprises Save the Children International and 28 member organisations working to deliver change for children in 120 countries.