21,000 in 5 years.. West and Central Africa is the most recruiting region for children in the world

UNICEF said that the number of children recruited into the conflict in West and Central Africa is now the highest in the world, due to the multiple crises in the region and the increasing difficulties due to the Corona virus epidemic, according to the American newspaper “Washington Post”.

Over the past five years, the organization specialized in children stated that non-governmental armed groups have recruited about 21,000 children in the region that extends from Burkina Faso to the Central African Republic, passing through the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

She added that the year 2020 alone – in which the Covid-19 disease swept the world – witnessed the recruitment of more than 4,500 children to fight, clean, cook or spy for the armies and militias.

“As major humanitarian crises continue to unfold, more than 57 million children now require assistance in West and Central Africa, a number that has nearly doubled since 2020 due to the escalation of armed conflict and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic,” the report said.

The report stressed that “children are trapped behind the lines of conflict, facing violence and insecurity,” noting that “the region is volatile and witnessing an increasing number of new and protracted armed conflicts.”

The report cited emergencies and ongoing hostilities in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin as having “devastating humanitarian consequences for children and communities.”

Since 2016, the region has also had the highest number of child victims of sexual violence, and the second highest rate of child abduction, the Washington Post said.

In 2005, the United Nations established a mechanism to monitor and report on violations against children during armed conflict, and the report stated that since then, nearly one in two children have been verified as being recruited and used by government armed forces or non-state armed groups. worldwide in West and Central Africa.

And the Washington Post quoted the UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Pourier, as saying: “Whether children in West and Central Africa are the direct targets or the collateral victims, they are caught in conflict and facing violence and insecurity,” explaining that “the grave violations of their rights committed by The parties to the conflict are not acceptable.

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