At least 972 children in Ukraine have been killed or severely injured by violence since the war escalated in February 2022, Several children are killed or injured by every attack. These are just the figures that the UN has been able to identify. Obviously, the actual numbers would be much higher.
The primary cause of such massive casualties among children is undoubtedly the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas. These weapons do not discriminate between civilians and combatants or adults and children, especially when used in populated civilian areas as witnessed in Ukraine, particularly in Mariupol, Luhansk, Kremenchuk and Vinnytsia.
The reckless and selfish decisions of the power-hungry, egoist, revengeful and powerful decision-making adults are putting the lives of millions of innocent children at extreme risk. It is known to all that there are no armed operations of these kinds that do not result in children being severely harmed.
Meanwhile, beyond the horror of children being killed or severely injured in such destructive attacks, almost every child in war-impacted countries has been exposed to deeply distressing events, and those children fleeing from violence as refugees are at significant risk of family separation, violence, exposure to crime, sexual exploitation and trafficking.
The education system is devastated by the escalation of hostilities across the war-impacted countries. Schools have been targeted or used by parties as hiding places, resulting in victim families not feeling safe to send their children to schools. Children are innocent and they are the future of the world, they need to be in school and learning meaningful lessons. Many experts believe that a single devastating war sows the seed for many more dreadful wars in future as the children who are the future grow up in a traumatic, hateful and toxic environment becoming more vulnerable to joining radical extremist groups that further promote extreme forms of violence on innocent people including children. It is therefore a vicious cycle which unless broken will only lead to a more dangerous future.
Though organizations like UNICEF continue to call for a ceasefire in war-affected nations and appeal for all children to be protected from such casualties, unfortunately, there seems to be very little impact of such appeals among warmongers.
Children in war zones urgently need, medical aid, food and drinking water, safety, stability, access to safe learning, child protection services and psychosocial support. But more than anything else children need ‘PEACE’.
Author: Ruhail Choudhury is an eminent corporate lawyer who specialises in child welfare laws from Harvard University and is also the founder of www.thevoicesonline.com a digital platform that connects more than one million children across the world to spread friendship beyond national boundaries and promote international peace.