Violations of international law regarding children and armed conflict continue to have a “devastating impact”, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba said on Tuesday, noting an increase 112% in the number of attacks on schools and hospitals.
Gamba unveiled the Secretary-General’s latest annual report, for 2022, which shows that there were 27,180 grave violations in total, an increase from the previous year.
The violations recorded refer only to verified information, with a likely much higher toll, and cover four categories: recruitment and use of children in armed groups or forces, killings and mutilations, rape and sexual violence, and abductions .
Two thirds of the violations involved boys, covering 24 different conflict situations. A total of 8,831 children were killed or maimed, and 7,622 others were recruited by armed groups or forces.
“Monitoring and verification of grave violations remained extremely challenging, in particular due to access constraints leading to under-reporting of these violations and an increase in verified violations in 2022,” the report said.
There were 1,163 recorded attacks on schools and 647 attacks on hospitals, an increase of 112 percent, according to the report.
The widespread use of schools for military purposes, by both armed forces and armed groups, is a “very worrying trend”, Ms. Gamba stressed, calling for them to remain “zones of peace”.
Nearly 2,500 children have been detained, a practice which “should only be used as a last resort and for the shortest period of time”, she added.