Unicef: More than 150 children killed in violence in Mali © Sam Mednick
UN children's agency Unicef expresses concern over child rights violations in Mali, West Africa. According to United Nations surveys, more than 150 children were killed in the first half of 2019 alone.
Likewise, 75 girls and boys were injured in attacks, as the aid organization announced in Cologne on Tuesday. "We must not accept the suffering of children as the new normal," said Unicef Executive Director Henrietta Fore. All parties to the conflict should fulfill their obligations under international law and protect children as best they can.
Particularly serious in the north and center of the country
According to Unicef, the number of children being used and recruited by armed groups also doubled in the first half of the year compared to 2018. More than 900 schools are currently closed due to ongoing violence and insecurity. "Children should go to school and play with their friends instead of being afraid of being attacked or forced to fight," Fore criticized.
In the north and center of the country, the situation is particularly serious, according to the organization. According to the report, in the Mopti region, numerous children were killed and injured in attacks by armed groups and fighting between different ethnic groups. Many had fled their homes or had been separated from their families. Numerous other children have been victims of sexual assault and suffered severe psychological injuries, he said. Unicef estimates that for more than 377.000 girls and boys in Mali, special child protection measures would have to be taken.