New World Vision report shows increasing violence against children,
including recruitment & targeted attacks
AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - World Vision applauds today's
announcement that peace talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil conflict
will resume on January 22, 2014. The international humanitarian agency
urges all parties to join the talks in good faith with an eye toward
protecting the most vulnerable and pushing for a lasting end to the
Today, World Vision released a new report, Stand with Me, Ending the War on Syria's Children, which paints a picture of the horrors faced by children caught in this
war. Findings highlight the urgent need for all parties to commit to
protecting children in the conflict and prioritizing their needs, as
their situations continue to worsen. The January 22 peace talks present
"The international community has failed the children of Syria. Every
month that goes by without a peaceful resolution means more children
displaced from their homes, missing school or even fighting on the
frontlines of the conflict," said Joe Harbison, World Vision's response
manager for the Syrian crisis. "The time to act is now."
"These talks represent the best chance Syria's children have had in over
two years for a future free from fear and violence," said Conny
Lenneberg, leader of World Vision's programs in the Middle East. "As
the atrocities continue, we need leaders at the Security Council and
beyond to show they are prepared to push urgently for peace and support
humanitarian responses. They need to come together to negotiate an
immediate ceasefire, followed by peace talks."
Highlights from new report: Stand with Me: Ending the War on Syria's Children
The recent escalation of fighting has led to a rise in casualties, with
more than 7,000 children killed. Surveyors found that in some cases
children are being specifically targeted in massacres and executions.
More than four million children in the region have been affected by the
conflict, including two million children inside Syria who have been
displaced from their homes.
An alarming number of children are being used in the conflict. In some
hotspots of the conflict, as many as 25 percent of children over 15
years old are tied to an armed group. Reports indicate children as
young as eight years old are being used by armed groups as human
Child protection workers working with Syrian refugee children are nearly
unanimous in reporting signs of severe emotional stress among refugee
children, such as unusual crying/screaming, disrupted sleep patterns
(nightmares and insomnia), sadness, bedwetting and unwillingness to go
Almost 80 percent of the child protection workers surveyed believed
there has been an increase in the number of children detained for their
role in the conflict.
Almost three-quarters of the child protection workers believe there has
been an increase in sexual violence against Syrian refugee children,
with most having no idea where victims of such violence can get help.
World Vision is urgently requesting all sides in the conflict to
unconditionally support negotiations aimed at ending the fighting and
to end the violation of children's rights. As well, the agency says all
sides should support better access for humanitarian aid to reach those
in need inside Syria.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy
organization dedicated to working with children, families and
communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all
people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our
News Centre at worldvision.ca.
SOURCE: World Vision Canada
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