Afghanistan: Save the Children Urges Greater Protection of Children as New UN Report Reveals Record Civilian Casualties in Last Six Months
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (July 25,2016) — Almost 400 children were killed and another 1,121 maimed between January and June this year in a six-month period that saw the highest number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan since the United Nations began counting in 2009.
According to the report by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, nearly a third of all civilian deaths or injuries were children, with the total number of child casualties up 18 percent compared to the same period last year.
"These findings are truly shocking, and represent a significant backtrack on progress for Afghan children," said Save the Children’s Afghanistan Country Director Ana Locsin.
"Save the Children condemns any attacks on children, and we urge all parties in Afghanistan to make the protection of civilians, especially children, a priority."
"Aside from the obvious risk to their lives, witnessing civilian attacks can cause a great deal of distress for children, often leading to psychosocial issues and impacting their longer term development," Locsin said. "Children are seeing their family members killed or injured, which can have huge knock on effects on their lives, especially if the breadwinner can no longer work or take care of them."
"Children are always innocent victims — they have no part in conflict and, as such, must be protected from harm."
Civilian casualties in Afghanistan between January and June, 2016, totaled 5,166, reflecting a four percent increase on the same period last year. More than 155,000 Afghans became displaced during the six month period, representing a 10 percent increase on 2015.
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