UN report censures rising child abuse cases by terrorist groups in Syria

UN report censures rising child abuse cases by terrorist groups in Syria
Wed Feb 5, 2014 09:39:48

The UN has revealed more cases of child abuse in war-stricken Syria, criticizing foreign-backed militants for recruiting refugee children in bordering countries.

"The suffering endured by the children in the Syrian Arab Republic since the outset of the conflict, as documented in this report, is unspeakable and unacceptable," UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in the report. The report is dated January 27, but was only posted online on Tuesday.

It looks at the timeframe between March 1, 2011 and November 15, 2013, and includes detailed accounts of the foreign-backed militants committing grave violations against children.

The UN has reported and blamed the militants for child abuse cases in the past, but this is the first report revealing that the situation is worsening in the region. The organization has raised the issue of the increasing recruitment of children for terrorist combat operations.

"Of particular concern were cases of recruitment or attempted recruitment of children within refugee populations in neighboring countries. The majority of incidents were related to recruitment by Free Syrian Army-affiliated groups or other armed groups," Ban said.

The report identifies the lack of education and job opportunities as leading causes for the increasing recruitment of children.

"Interviews with children and their parents indicated that the loss of parents and relatives, political mobilization and peer pressure from families and communities, contributed to the involvement of children with FSA-affiliated groups," the report said.

The Syrian refugee situation has been severe since protests against the Syrian government, which started in March 2011, grew into a full-scale war. It is estimated that more than two million people, mostly women and children, have fled the country.

Other abuses included: "beatings with metal cables, whips and wooden and metal batons; electric shocks, including to the genitals; the ripping out of fingernails and toenails; sexual violence, including rape or threats of rape; mock executions; cigarette burns; sleep deprivation; solitary confinement; and exposure to the torture of relatives.”

The United Nations estimates that the violence in Syria has killed more than 100,000 people, including more than 10,000 children.


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