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More than 8,500 children were used as soldiers in 2020, says UN

A new United Nations report released yesterday states that more than 8,500 children were used as soldiers last year in various conflicts across the world. The UN also found that nearly 2,700 child soldiers were killed in 2020. The UN’s chief Antonio Guterres’ annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict covers the denial of aid access and targeting of schools and hospitals, along with the killing, abduction, or recruitment of children. The report verified that violations had been committed against 19,379 children spanning 21 different conflicts, with the most violations being committed in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.

The report verified that 5,748 children were also injured in various conflicts. The UN report includes a backlist that intends to shame parties involved in the conflicts to push them to implement measures that protect children. The list has been controversial as diplomats state that Saudi Arabia and Israel exerted pressure in recent years in an attempt to remain off of the list. Israel has never been listed, whereas a Saudi-led military coalition was removed in 2020 several years after it was shamed for killing and injuring children in Yemen. The backlist has since been split into two categories, with one naming parties that have introduced measures to protect children and others that have not. The most recent list includes only two parties in the latter category; Myanmar’s military and the Syrian government forces.

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