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The UN says violence against children in conflicts will reach extreme levels by 2023, including in Gaza

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Violence against children caught in widening and escalating conflicts has reached “extreme levels” in 2023, with unprecedented numbers of killings and injuries in crises from Israel and the Palestinian territories to Sudan, Myanmar and Ukraine, according to a UN report. new UN report.

The annual report on children in armed conflict, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, reports “a shocking 21% increase in serious violations” against children under 18 in a range of conflicts, also citing Congo, Burkina Faso, Somalia and Somalia . Syria.

For the first time, the UN report placed Israeli forces on the blacklist of countries that violate children’s rights for killing and maiming children and attacking schools and hospitals. It also cited Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants for the first time for killing, wounding and kidnapping children.

Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack in southern Israel and Israel’s massive military retaliation in Gaza have led to a 155% increase in serious violations against children, mainly due to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas in Gaza, according to the report. the report.

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The United Nations has blacklisted Russia’s armed forces and affiliated armed groups for a second year for killing and maiming children and attacking schools and hospitals in Ukraine.

Sudan, where a war has raged since 2023 between rival generals vying for power, witnessed “a staggering 480% increase in serious violations against children,” the report said.

Sudan’s armed forces and rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces were blacklisted for killing and injuring young people and attacking schools and hospitals – as well as the paramilitaries for recruiting and using children in military operations and for rape and sexual assault. violence.

Myanmar’s growing civil war also saw a 123% increase in serious violations against children. The Myanmar Armed Forces and related militias and seven armed groups are also blacklisted this year.

According to the report by UN Secretary General António Guterres, the United Nations verified 30,705 violations against children in 2023 and 2,285 previously committed, involving more than 15,800 boys and more than 6,250 girls. Some were subjected to multiple violations.

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The UN chief said the alarming increase in violations is due to “the changing nature, complexity, expansion and intensification of armed conflicts, the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilians” and infrastructure and other essential buildings, as well as the rise of new armed groups, acute humanitarian emergencies and ‘blatant disregard’ for international law.

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