A new UNICEF report has revealed that around 3.6 million children in Iraq – one in five in the country – are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into armed groups.
The report named, “A Heavy Price for Children” states that the number of children in danger of these violations has increased by 1.3 million over the last 18 months.
The findings show that 4.7 million children, or one third of all Iraqi children, need humanitarian aid, while many families now face deteriorating conditions following military operations in Fallujah and around Mosul.
“Children in Iraq are in the firing line and are being repeatedly and relentlessly targeted,” said Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Iraq Representative. “We appeal to all parties for restraint and to respect and protect children. We must help give children the support they need to recover from the horrors of war and contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous Iraq.”
UNICEF’s report documents the scale and complexity of the humanitarian crisis, in a country reeling from nearly four decades of conflict, insecurity and neglect, and where the impact on children worsens every day.
The report shows that almost ten percent of Iraqi children, more than 1.5 million, have been forced to flee their homes because of violence since the beginning of 2014, often multiple times. Nearly one in five schools is out of use due to conflict and almost 3.5 million children of school-age are missing out on an education.
But perhaps the most staggering of the report’s findings is that, over the last two and a half years, a total of 1,496 children have been abducted in the country. That translates to around 50 children being abducted each month, with many forced into fighting or being sexually abused.
“The kidnapping of children from their homes, their schools and from the streets is horrifying”, said Hawkins. “These children are being ripped from their families and are subjected to sickening abuses and exploitation.”
- Pray for children in Iraq. Pray for their protection from exploitation and abuse, for protection from kidnapping, and for healing from the trauma of many years of war and violence in this country.
- Pray for those missing out on education due to the ongoing conflict. Pray for peace to allow schools to reopen, and for the resources and staff needed to equip schools to teach this needy generation.
- Pray for NGOs seeking to work with children in Iraq. Pray for opportunities to share the love of the Father in heaven, who will never leave them nor forsake them, and for Christian workers to be channels of God’s love and healing to these children.
- Pray for measures to be put in place to protect children in Iraq, and for and end to the ongoing sectarian violence that continues to rob a generation of their childhood.
Psalm 68 vs 5: “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”
Source: http://www.albawaba.com/news, http://www.persecution.org/2016