65,000 Children Released From Armed Forces And Groups In The Last 10 Years – UNICEF

65,000 Children Released From Armed Forces And Groups In The Last 10 Years – UNICEF

Says nearly 2,000 children were recruited by Boko Haram in 2016  

 Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday said 65,000 children have been released from armed forces and armed groups in the past 10 years.

This was disclosed as leaders from around the world gather in Paris on the anniversary of the Paris Commitments to end the use of children in conflict.

UNICEF Executive Director,  Anthony Lake in a statement yesterday said,  “Ten years ago the world made a commitment to the children of war and matched it with action  and  that has helped give 65,000 children a new chance for a better life.”

Lake said  the meeting was  not only about looking back at what has been accomplished but looking forward to the work that remains to be done to support the children of war.”

He noted that exact data on the number of children used and recruited in armed conflict are difficult to confirm because of the unlawful nature of child recruitment.

He said UNICEF estimates that tens of thousands of boys and girls under the age of 18 are used in conflicts worldwide.

Lake said: “Since 2013, an estimated 17,000 children have been recruited in South Sudan and up to 10,000 have been recruited in the Central African Republic.  In Nigeria and neighbouring countries, data verified by the United Nations and its partners indicate that nearly 2,000 children were recruited by Boko Haram in 2016 alone.

“In Yemen, the UN has documented nearly 1,500 cases of child recruitment since the conflict escalated in March 2015.

“The number of countries that have endorsed the Paris Commitments nearly doubled in 10 years, from 58 countries in 2007 to 105 at present, signaling an increasing global commitment to end the use of children in conflict.

“Estimates show that of the 65,000 children who have been released in the past 10 years, more than 20,000 were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, nearly 9,000 in the Central African Republic, and over 1,600 children in Chad.”