A study completed by international charity, Save the Children has revealed that every sixth child in the world is growing up in a conflict zone. Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia have been listed the top three most dangerous countries to be a child.
The turmoil which threatens the safety of millions of children worldwide cannot be tied to one specific country or region. The violence seen in these high-conflict areas – whether fuelled by politics, famine or war – is not localized and must be addressed on a global level. International relations between countries play a large role in determining the fate of children living in the world.
According to the UN, over 75,000 children have been killed or injured in 25 conflicts since 2005, a number which can be attributed to the development of more advanced and powerful weapons being used in modern warfare.
During an interview, George Graham the Director of Humanitarian Policy at Save the Children, reported on findings of the study that analyzed trends of children living in high-conflict areas since the early 1990s. The data reveals the number of children in high-conflict areas being killed or maimed has tripled since 1991.
Graham says while there has been an increase in the amount of aid being sent to children in need, a great amount of that aid is being intercepted and blocked by parties to conflict. Nearly half of the children who live in areas of conflict lack access to proper education and healthcare facilities, often forcing them into lives of violence and solitude. Graham says the increasing number of attacks within large cities, is the reason for the spike in the numbers of children facing senseless violence.
Though the study brought forward many unnerving numbers, yet there is hope for the future of children.
Caroline Anning of Save the Children says, there are a number of ways to create a peaceful world for children although, a future of stability will require time and investment.
“We can invest better in mental health and psychosocial support for children in disaster zones, we can rebuild the society around them, get them back into school, reunite them with their families. There is a whole range of things we can do but that does take investment, it takes time, it takes support.”
Unfortunately, the suffering does not end once the conflict ceases. Children who are lucky enough to survive the terrors of unrest, face both physical and sexual violence later on in their lives.
So what can be done to combat this issue? The answer does not lie in the hands of a benevolent aid worker, nor can it be bought with a donation to a non-profit organization. The key to a diverse and peaceful world in which children thrive, is global education. We must work to educate children and adults living in high-conflict areas as well as those who will never know the perils of violent conflict. The narrative that “this is just the way things are,” must be re-written and re-worked so that our world may provide children with the tools required to tackle current injustices. Violence does not equate to diversity, and ignoring these global issues will only promote the suffering of millions of children.