UNITED NATIONS, 7 July – The Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, Henrietta Fore, expressed concern on Wednesday about the increasing wave of kidnappings and attacks against children in various regions of West and Central Africa.
The High Representative also noted the recent kidnappings of students in Kaduna State, Nigeria, and called for greater protection of minors from those and other states, PL reported.
He noted that on July 5, 150 students were reportedly kidnapped from a school in Nigeria, the latest in an alarming series of attacks against children in parts of West and Central Africa.
He stressed that children in these areas need concerted action to ensure that they can live safely and go to school or fetch water without fear of being attacked or separated from their families.
And the latest report of the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on children and armed conflict, warns that one in three minor victims of grave violations is in West and Central Africa, Fore said.
In addition, he insisted, it is not enough to condemn these crimes alone, and not when millions of children face an increasingly serious protection crisis.
The UNICEF Executive Director stressed that non-state armed groups and all parties to conflict that violate children’s rights have a moral and legal obligation to immediately halt attacks against this extremely vulnerable population.
Yesterday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations expressed his grave concern over reports of kidnappings in Nigeria.
According to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, the owner is concerned about the frequency of kidnappings for ransom, most of which are committed by extremist groups and criminal networks and targeting children.
In this regard, he stressed the need to hold the perpetrators of these grave human rights violations accountable, and the need to improve the security of schools and educational facilities.
In recent weeks, the United Nations has documented a series of attacks against children in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Nigeria.