Lagos - The ongoing brutality by the Boko Haram sect in the country has culminated in one of the worst violations of children’s rights in the world in the past year.
This is according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations’ Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict as they marked the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.
“In Nigeria throughout 2014, the armed conflict in the north-eastern of the country was one of the world’s deadliest for children,” read a joint statement from the UN Headquarters in New York.
The groups noted there was a dramatic rise in violence, growing recruitment and use of children, sometimes very young.
“The UNICEF is also concerned by reports of this violence against children.”
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During the year under review, Boko Haram militants kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls at a government school in Chibok, Borno State.
Plans to rescue the minors from the clutch of sect members have thus far yielded nothing.
Meanwhile, children are increasingly vulnerable to recruitment and use by armed groups as conflicts around the world become more brutal, intense and widespread, UNICEF and the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said.
“While Governments of the world have made progress to recognize children have no place in their armies, the recruitment of child soldiers is still a huge problem, especially with armed groups,” said Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
According to a statement, out of 59 parties to conflict identified by the Secretary-General for grave violations against children, 57 were named because they were recruiting and using child soldiers.
The sentiments coincided with the marking of the International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers.
The day was initiated in 2002 when the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict entered into force on February 2002. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the protocol in May 2000. It has been ratified by 159 states.
- CAJ News