Abducted and abused. Killed and maimed. Raped and recruited. Denied medical care and aid. Children are no longer just caught in the crossfire – they have become targets in wars raged by adults.
Approximately 350 million children live in areas affected by conflict. In places like Syria and Yemen, fighting has continued for years, and some children don’t know anything else. With the right support, children can recover from their experiences - but more needs to be done to protect them from the horrors of conflict. And it needs to be done now.
From Syria to South Sudan, Yemen to Somalia, children around the world are caught in conflict. Every day, adults are committing shocking abuses against them:
Children are being killed and maimed. In some conflicts, children are the victims of indiscriminate bombing. In others, they’re deliberately targeted. This can be to inflict emotional damage on a community, or wipe out the next generation of a religious or ethnic group. The recent horrors inflicted on Rohingya children in Myanmar should shock us all. There are stories of children killed or hurt by the military, children burned alive in their homes. Almost 400,000 have now fled to Bangladesh - some are with family, some are alone.
Attacks on schools and hospitals are becoming a new normal. Amid the chaos and fear of conflict, education gives hope, and helps children overcome the horrors they’ve seen. Healthcare is vital for treating the injured and malnourished, and keeping disease at bay. But in 2017, there were at least 2,000 attacks on schools in Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. In Syria, there have been 1,004 attacks on health facilities since 2011. In conflicts around the world, schools and hospitals are being hit on an almost daily basis.
Life-saving aid such as food, water and medicine is being blocked. The consequences are devastating when warring parties stop aid reaching people in need. It often leads to more children dying from hunger and disease than from the violence itself. In Yemen, all sides have made it difficult to get life-saving essentials through. Children made up 90% of people affected by a recent diphtheria outbreak, but the vaccines needed to treat them were denied entry to the country. And while 8.4 million people stood on the brink of starvation, food supplies were turned back from ports.
More than 350 million children are living in areas affected by conflict. That is 1 in every 6 children.
Between 2005 and 2016, there have been 15,735 attacks on schools and hospitals.
In 2016, life-saving aid was blocked from getting to those who need it 1,104 times.
At least 10,068 children were killed or maimed in conflict in 2016 - this number is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
Deep in a forest in South Sudan, a sick baby is found under a pile of leaves. With gunmen all around, the race to her to safety and find her family begins. In Nigeria, a teacher risks everything to give the girls in his village a proper education, but pays the ultimate price. His daughter cannot forgive herself – until a boy soldier gives her the courage to go on…
Anywhere but Home is a six-episode audio drama inspired by the incredible journeys made by children fleeing conflict. Listen now.
What we’re calling for: