There are nearly 350 million children living in conflict zones, a 75 percent increase from the early 1990's, a new report by Save the Children, an international nonprofit working for children's rights, has revealed.
"The number of children living in a conflict zone has increased by more than 75 percent from the early 1990s when it was around 200 million, to more than 357 million children in 2016 – around 1 in 6 of the world’s children," the report which bases its study on the Peace Research Institute, PRIO, Oslo, and the United Nations Annual Reports of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (UN CAAC) spanning the 1998–2016 period, said.
"165 million of these children are affected by high-intensity conflicts. Children living in such conflict-impacted areas often lack access to school and health facilities, and are more exposed to violence," the report titled "The War on Children" revealed.
Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia are the top three conflict-ridden regions affecting the children, the report noted.
"The conflict in Syria has set new lows in the conduct of hostilities," Caroline Anning, a Senior Conflict & Humanitarian Advocacy Adviser at Save the Children told Euronews, "We've seen huge rates of schools being attacked and the use of indiscriminate weapons like barrel and cluster bombs are being used in areas where children are living."
Next on the list are Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR).
A majority of the world's conflict-affected children live in Asia and the Middle East. According to the report, nearly two in five children in the region live "within 50km of a conflict event in their country, and children in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other war zones in the region are at high risk of all six grave violations."
Africa comes in second, "with 1 in 5 children affected by conflict."
The report which maps six grave violations against the children saw a rising trend in the killing and maiming of children, attacks on schools and hospitals, abduction, use of children as soldiers, and denial of humanitarian assistance in the last five years.
It also noted that the data on sexual violence was so scant owing to the "the stigma and under-reporting in many contexts" that it was hard to map the trend accurately.
"The psychological impact of toxic stress on children living in conflict zones is profound and can lead to a vicious cycle of conflict, in which the next generation struggles to rebuild peaceful societies following the trauma of violence," the report added.