Unicef’s Warning: Violence Against Children cannot be Forgotten

The United Nations agency is requesting 3.9 billion dollars to deal with humanitarian emergencies this year.

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Children of the world continue to die, being mutilated or orphaned in armed conflicts, they continue to be subject to food insecurity or lack of water that generates a natural disaster, they continue to suffer kidnappings, rapes, prolonged traumas from what their eyes have seen.

It is the words that the executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, has used to light the world’s red light, in the introduction to the report “Humanitarian Action for Children 2019“, released today.

“If we do not put an end to these violations, and if those who commit them are not held responsible, children will grow up considering that violence is normal, acceptable and even inevitable,” he said. In addition, “when children do not have safe places to play, when they can not reunite with their families, when they do not receive psychosocial support, they can not be cured of the invisible scars caused by war,” they emphasize.

Evil does not end at the moment it is inflicted. There is death, Unicef ​​recalls, but also serious physical and mental injuries that last over time, which totally affect the quality of life of children and their future as adults, violence that can deactivate entire generations. The United Nations talks about “mental scars” and “toxic stress” generated by the trauma, with “devastating effects” on the learning, behavior and emotional development of children. “Every child’s life is precious, every intervention, big or small, can make a difference,” he recalls.

A historical request for funds

On that need, raise your voice to claim money, which is what can mitigate the horror created by the elderly. In his report he details that it is necessary to collect from the international community 3,900 million dollars (just over 3,400 million euros) in order to assist this year to 73 million people, 41 million of them minors, affected by armed conflicts or natural disasters. They are one hundred more than last year, which was already “devastating”.

With this heading they want to apply action plans in areas such as security, drinking water, food, education and health services in 59 countries. The largest program, of 904 million dollars, will be applied in host communities of Syrian refugees in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, followed by those aimed at Yemen (542.3 million dollars), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (or DRC, 326.1 million dollars), Syria (319.8 million dollars) and South Sudan (179.2 million).

Unicef ​​estimates that today there are more than 34 million children who live directly in situations of open conflict and disaster, who lack access to child protection services; among them, they remember the 6.6 million children in Yemen, the 5.5 million in Syria and the four million in the DRC.

In this year’s study, there is an aggravated conflict in recent years and a very hot one these days: that of Venezuela. The Fund specifically requests 70 million dollars to assist children affected by the crisis, both in the center and outside the country, in neighboring states, where they have been displaced by thousands. “We are very concerned about the situation of children in Venezuela (…) and we ask everyone to protect children and adolescents at this time,” said UNICEF Director of Emergency Programs, Manuel Fontaine, from Geneva.

“We also work in neighboring countries such as Colombia, Brazil and Ecuador, to help the host communities [of migrants and Venezuelan refugees] in the reception of families and children who cross the border,” he says.

Money that does not arrive

“Providing these children with the support they need is fundamental, but if a considerable and sustained international action is not carried out, many of them will continue to fall into oblivion.”

Fontaine added in his appearance, that disturbing normality, which prevents movement because it seems that everything is so cursed and can not be altered, is perhaps what also makes the aid not flow. governments and other donors, of course, but also of will, to have children at the top of the agenda, is not what happens now.

Unicef ​​acknowledges in its report that it is unable to collect everything that each year is raised in a basic scenario, that of the 3.8 billion dollars that it requested for last year it only collected half. They had to focus on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and its neighboring countries, South Sudan and Yemen, emergencies that already accounted for 60% of the funds. It only achieved, for example, a third of the funds required to attend children in the DRC or a fifth of what was initially demanded for Syria. Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine… the other emergencies received what they could give them.

In their appeal for this year, at least, they are looking for money to provide psychosocial support to four million children, basic education for 10.1 million more, immunization with measles vaccines of 10.3 million or treatment of 4 million. , 2 million children with severe acute malnutrition.

It is a general problem in humanitarian matters, since the UN usually achieves between 37 and 40% of what is requested each year. Nothing else.


Syrian Arab Republic and neighboring countries

Nearly eight years after the start of the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, some 13.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, including 5.6 million children, of which 493,000 live in areas of difficult access. More than 2.5 million Syrian children live as refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where the demand for basic services, such as health and education, continues to exceed the response capacity of institutions and communities. infrastructures


The humanitarian crisis triggered by the conflict in Yemen has been described as the world’s biggest emergency, with more than 22 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. It is estimated that 12 million Yemenis, including two million children, will need food aid by 2019.


In Afghanistan, an estimated 3.8 million children will need protection and humanitarian assistance in 2019 due to increased violence, natural disasters, including drought, and harsh winter, which will further undermine access to basic services essentials

Crisis of the Rohingya population in Bangladesh and Myanmar

Since August 2017, more than 730,000 Rohingya, including 400,000 children, have fled violence in Myanmar and settled in the district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In Myanmar, 600,000 Rohingya continue to face major problems, such as lack of freedom of movement, discrimination and limited access to basic services.


Some 2.8 million people, including 1.5 million children, have been displaced in Ethiopia, and there are fears that the number of people affected will continue to rise. The peace agreement signed with Eritrea resulted in more than 14,000 new arrivals between September 12 and October 20, and the influx is expected to continue in 2019.

South Sudan

Despite the signing of a peace agreement, the humanitarian situation remains acute in South Sudan, where violence persists, including gender-based violence, severe food and nutrition insecurity, economic disruption and outbreaks of disease. More than 4.5 million people have been uprooted from their homes, 6 million need water, sanitation and hygiene services and 2.2 million children do not attend school.

Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic)

Nearly 21 million people in Cameroon, Chad, the Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic are affected by ongoing conflicts. In Nigeria, displacement increased in 2018, with an average of 4,000 people displacing each week, mainly women and children. In Cameroon, almost half a million people have had to move internally and vulnerabilities continue to rise. In the Central African Republic, 1.5 million children, two out of every three children in the country, will need humanitarian assistance in 2019.

Democratic Republic of Congo

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there has been a significant escalation of violence and armed conflict. Some 12.8 million people are at risk of food insecurity and acute malnutrition, representing a 30% increase since 2017. Children infected with Ebola still need adequate care.


Prolonged conflict, political instability, deterioration of public servicesand a dysfunctional economy have affected almost 1.6 million Libyans. It is estimated that 823,000 people, including 241,000 children, need humanitarian assistance.

Venezuela and neighboring states

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean host at least 2.4 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants. The high and unpredictable migration flows are pushing the capacities of the recipient countries to the limit and increasing the demand for services and structures that are already severely limited in the host communities.


Some 500,000 children affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine urgently need protection and humanitarian assistance, including access to safe drinking water, safe learning environments, quality health care and psychosocial support.