© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Save the Children says violations of children’s rights must be investigated and analysed
SAVE the Children has called for an independent body to investigate and analyse all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, particularly children’s rights as more and more children are endangered in conflicts and war zones.
“Our research shows that one out of every five children lives in a war zone or conflict areas,” said acting Country Director of Save the Children in Nigeria, Wilfred Okanda in Abuja at the centenary celebration of the establishment of the charity organization.
“Nigeria is one of those conflicts zones where children are daily exposed to dangers, assaults and violations of their rights. We call on international leaders to observe international laws and rules that protect the rights of children.”
He said Nigerian government must step up measures to ensure that children in conflict zones such as those in the Northeast and other places are protected, noting that the government still has the responsibility of rescuing the remaining abducted Chibok girls and others who are in captivity.
Speaking on the centenary anniversary of Save the Children, Okanda remarked that the organisation has been involved in the campaign for the protection of rights of children for the past 100 years when it was founded.
“Our programmes are diverse and we have campaigned to ensure that children learn and are protected. We are campaigning to stop the war against children this year,” he said.
“In new research by the Peace Institute Oslo (PRIO), commissioned by Save the Children, 420 million children were found to be living in conflict-affected areas in 2017 (18 per cent of children worldwide) – up to 30 million from the previous year.”
He listed Nigeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Mali and Somalia as countries where children were hardest hit by conflict in 2017.
Quoting from Save the Children report, Stop the War on Children launched in February, Akanda reiterated that, at least 550,000 babies were thought to have died as a result of armed conflict between 2013 and 2017 in those 10 worst-affected countries.
“That’s an average of 100,000 every year,” he said, “they probably would not have died if they hadn’t been living in areas affected by conflict,” he added.
Speaking also at the event, newly appointed Child Ambassador in Nigeria, Oriaifo Purity lamented that the Federal Government was yet to understand the magnitude of challenges facing Nigerian children particularly those in rural areas.
Purity listed poverty, lack of access to education, sexual abuse, discrimination, child trafficking among others as challenges confronting Nigerian children.
She praised Save the Children for fighting for and promoting the rights of children.