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UN: Nigeria, DRC recorded grave violations against children globally in 2022

The United Nations (UN) says Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recorded an increase in grave violations against children in 2022.

The data was disclosed in the UN’s annual report on children and armed conflict, which was released on Tuesday.

According to the report, the splintering of armed groups and intercommunal violence affected children, and an upsurge in the activities of armed groups, including those designated by the UN as terrorist groups, led to the increase of violations in Nigeria.

“The United Nations verified 524 grave violations against 307 children (135 boys, 172 girls) in north-east Nigeria, including 139 children who were victims of multiple violations,” the report reads.

“In 2022, the United Nations verified 79 grave violations against 40 children (17 boys, 23 girls) that had occurred in previous years. A total of 136 children (49 boys, 87 girls), between the ages of 8 and 17, were recruited and used by Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (JAS) (118) and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) (17), mostly following the abduction, and by the Nigerian Security Forces (1).

“Most girls (66) were victims of sexual violence during their association. In 2022, the United Nations verified the recruitment and use of 32 children (17 boys, 15 girls) by JAS (27) and ISWAP (5) that had occurred in previous years, in Borno state.

“Some 40 children (35 boys, 5 girls), between the ages of 8 and 17, were detained by the Nigerian security forces for their alleged association with armed groups. All were released following United Nations advocacy. The killing (22) and maiming (31) of 53 children (37 boys, 16 girls) by ISWAP (30), the Nigerian security forces (12), unidentified perpetrators (10) and JAS (1) were verified.”

The casualties were mostly the result of instances of crossfire and shelling, the report added.


The report said the outlook was grim for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Save the Children International (SCI), a charity organisation, said the Central African country recorded the highest number of grave violations against children in armed conflict in the world for a second year in a row in 2022, with at least 2,420 children suffering from violations such as killing, maiming, abductions, and sexual violence.

According to SCI, most of the recruited children were used in combat or in support roles, with others used as guards and spies.

About 26 children were verified as being used as “fetish keepers”, a term which refers to children who are recruited because of a belief they possess magic powers, the charity organisation added.

“These are children who undergo a ceremonial ritual of a deep knife cut to the stomach. Those who do not die of these wounds may be recruited and put on the front lines due to their supposed powers,” a statement released by the organisation reads.

The DRC also recorded the highest number of child abductions globally, with 730 children forcibly taken from their homes last year.

Despite the high levels of violations recorded, SCI research shows that the war in Ukraine received five times more media coverage than the combined coverage of the ten worst conflict-affected countries to be a child in, in 2021.

Greg Ramm, SCI country director in the DRC, said humanitarian response is severely underfunded in the country which is aggravating the food shortage and leading more children to starve and drop out of school.

“All parties to the conflict must end the unlawful recruitment and use of children in conflict. We urge the government and international community to use their power to hold perpetrators of grave violations to account and to put in place a system of support for those affected,” Ramm said.

“It is vital that schools are safe zones spared from conflict and more action is taken to protect children from the killing, maiming and sexual violence. This war on children needs to stop.”

Source: The Cable