New York [US], December 31 (ANI): Armed conflict, inter-communal violence and insecurity continued to take a devastating toll on thousands of children throughout 2021 across the world, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), warned on Friday.
From Afghanistan to Yemen, and Syria to northern Ethiopia, UNICEF denounced grave violations against youngsters in both protracted and new conflicts.
Last week, four children were reportedly among the victims of an attack that killed at least 35 people - including two Save the Children staff - in Kayah state in eastern Myanmar.
In a statement, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said that year after year, "parties to conflict continue to demonstrate a dreadful disregard for the rights and wellbeing of children".
"Children are suffering, and children are dying because of this callousness. Every effort should be made to keep these children safe from harm", she added.
Data is not yet available for this year, but the UN verified 26,425 grave violations against children in 2020.
The first three months of 2021 saw a slight decrease in the overall number of these grave violations but verified cases of abduction and sexual violence continued to rise at alarming rates - by more than 50 and 10 per cent, respectively.
Verified abductions were highest in Somalia, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger).
On the other hand, verified instances of sexual violence were highest in the DRC, Somalia and the Central African Republic (CAR). (ANI)