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Stop the War on Children: A crisis of recruitment

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Save the Children International

The Covid-19 pandemic did not bring a lull in the war on children. In 2020, the number of children living in conflict actually rose.

There has been progress in some areas – most notably, verified incidents of children killed and maimed in conflict fell in 2020 for the second successive year. However, in other areas the situation for children became worse. Of the UN’s six grave violations against children in conflict, across four of them – recruitment of children, child abductions, sexual violence against children, and attacks on schools and hospitals – the numbers of verified incidents in 2020 increased. Equally important, the number of verified incidents of recruitment grew in 2020 for the second successive year.

This latest report in our Stop the War on Children series looks in detail at one of the grave violations: children at risk of recruitment and use by armed forces or armed groups. There has been a rise in the number of verified incidents of children recruited and used by armed forces and groups, and the number of groups recruiting children has also increased. In three countries – Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen – the vast majority of children in conflict zones are deemed at risk of recruitment.

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Children affected by armed conflict

Recruitment into armed forces, groups and gangs

Sexual violence and abuse

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