Today, grave violations are committed against children and youth in over twenty war-affected countries from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to Latin America. Girls and boys are killed, maimed, orphaned, abducted, deprived of education and health care, sexually violated and left with deep emotional and physical scars.
• Children and youth represent the majority of the population in most countries affected by armed conflicts and are thus disproportionately affected by war. Their suffering bears many faces - they are recruited as child soldiers, are killed and maimed, deprived of education and health care, and separated from their families. Sexual violence is increasingly a characteristic of conflict with detrimental long-term psychological effects on children and youth.
• The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict coordinates the UN system wide efforts to alleviate the suffering of these children.
• Children and armed conflict is at the centre of the UN Security Council’s peace and security agenda. On several occasions, the Council has imposed sanctions against persistent violators recruiting, sexually abusing, maiming and killing children and youth in wars.
• To date, 18 action plans to end violations against children have been signed with 20 armed forces and groups, resulting in the release of thousands of children.