Conflict-Ridden Innocence: Grim Reality of Children in Conflicts

From Palestine to IIOJK, the innocent children continue to be caught in a vortex of brutal violence and aggression by the security forces of Israel and India. Moreover, the lack of international humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan has exacerbated the plight of the Afghani children.  As wars and conflicts have intensified, it is estimated that globally 426 million children live in the conflict affected zone today and a staggering 72 million of them, or one in six, live 50 kilometers or closer to conflicts where armed groups or forces have perpetrated all forms of violence against children. This is the reason that on 19th August 1982, at its emergency special session on question of Palestine, the General Assembly, horrified at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children who were victims of Israel’s acts of aggression, decided to commemorate June 4 as the “International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.” 

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN while speaking in the UN session said that “If there is a hell on earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza,” said. The scale of violation against the Palestinian children in the past 70 plus years of Israeli conflict has been massive. The Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been living under Israeli occupation and have been exposed to multiple forms of violence and deprivation. Palestinian children aged between 12 and 17 years, from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, continue to be detained and arrested by Israeli forces. Jarjour, who hopes specialized mental healthcare programs will soon be launched across Gaza to help support children and their parents said that “Everyone lost their strength in this war, including the parents. The children were the weakest link. It has been cruel,” Moreover, Ghada Redwan, a psychotherapist at the Palestine Trauma Centre UK, said several families in Gaza contacted the center during the offensive asking for mental health support for their kids. According to Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), 12 of the 66 children killed by Israeli air attacks were participants in its program aiming to help Gaza’s children overcome trauma from previous wars. The children who survived the offensive are likely to relive experience of the bombing nightly, NRC said in a recent statement, adding children in Gaza have five nightmares a week on average. The grave humanitarian conditions experienced by children in the Gaza Strip exacerbate their mental health conditions, but the military attacks have the worst effect on children. 

Today is the day to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. A lot more needs to be done to protect children living in countries and areas affected by conflict.

Iqra Nasir
Iqra Nasir
Islamabad based Journalist and Host