Violent Clashes Put Thousands at Risk of Death, Injury and Psychological Trauma
Wendy Christian 203.221.3767
WESTPORT, Conn. (Feb. 3, 2011) — Save the Children is deeply concerned at reports that children have been drawn into violent clashes at political protests in recent days.
Eyewitness accounts suggest that some of those involved in the protests are children, and with tensions running high in the Egyptian capital, they are at serious risk of becoming victims of violence.
More than 300 people have been killed and thousands injured across Egypt in the recent unrest, and with continuing protests planned by both camps over coming days, there are fears that the death toll could rise.
“The combination of a highly charged atmosphere, rival political protestors, and weapons on the streets puts children in grave danger,” said Jane Gibreel, Save the Children’s country director in Egypt. “We want to send a clear message to all Egyptians that they have a responsibility to protect their children.”
In the absence of regular security patrols, local popular committees have set up checkpoints to protect their communities. Save the Children is concerned about the safety of children helping to defend their neighborhoods from criminal gangs.
Boys as young as twelve have been joining their fathers, brothers and neighbors on overnight vigils to stop looting and other criminal activity, but risk becoming victims of violence themselves.
“The effects on children caught up in this unrest could be devastating, both in terms of their immediate safety, and their long-term psychological well-being,” Gibreel said. ”Every Egyptian must ensure that the children are kept as safe as possible during these turbulent times.”
Save the Children is calling on all parties in Egypt to ensure that children are protected from the increased risks associated with the current political unrest, while continuing to lead education and newborn child survival programs in the most impoverished communities across the nation.
Read more about Save the Children’s work in Egypt
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