Conflict and War: The Six Most Serious Violations of Children’s Rights

1. Killing or injuring children

in conflicts, The use of explosive weapons has a devastating effect on children. The latter are at the center of the military operations they have to face (shootings, landmines, weapons and explosive devices, house demolitions or suicide bombings, etc.). Between 2005 and 2020, more than 104,100 children were killed or injured during armed conflicts. In 2020, explosive weapons caused nearly 50% of child deaths and injuries.
For example, an estimated 10,000 children were killed or maimed in Yemen as of October 2021 since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, the equivalent of four children every day.

2. Recruitment of children into armed groups

the The recruitment of children by conflicting parties is becoming more common. These children are then recruited to become fighters, cooks, messengers or spies. It is estimated that between 2005 and 2020 More than 93,000 children were recruited and exploited by the parties to the conflict, and it is likely that this number is actually higher.

3. Attacks on schools or hospitals

Attacks on schools or hospitals constitutes a serious violation of children’s rights and affects their right to access education and health. These attacks not only endanger children’s lives, but also disrupt their learning and limit their access to medical care, which can impact their education and health for life.
Between 2005 and 2020, More than 13,900 attacks (direct and indirect) on schools, health centers as well as civilians such as students, children in the hospital, and health and school workers.

4. sexual violence against children

Sexual exploitation or abuse, rape, forced prostitution, forced marriage or pregnancy, forced sterilization… All these acts of violence constitute a serious violation of the rights of the child.
Between 2005 and 2020, Parties to the conflict committed serious forms of sexual violence against at least 14,200 children. These acts affecting children in conflict situations are very little reported, but the girl most affected by this violence. It is appreciated that they represent 97% of cases were recorded between 2016 and 2020. Verified cases of sexual violence were most numerous in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and the Central African Republic.

5. Child Abductions

Kidnapping is one of the most widespread acts of violence in times of armed conflict. Very often abducted children are also victims of other serious abuses: they can be injured, mutilated, killed, subjected to sexual violence or recruited into armed groups. They can also be taken hostage or arbitrarily arrested. Between 2005 and 2020, At least 25,700 children have been kidnapped by parties to the conflict. Boys account for three quarters of the identified cases. However, girls remain at risk of being abducted, including for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Somalia has recorded the highest number of confirmed kidnappings. followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Countries of the Lake Chad Basin (Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad).

6. Denial of humanitarian access to children

The intentional deprivation or obstruction of humanitarian assistance by the parties to the conflict endangers the survival of children living in conflict zones. Between 2005 and 2020, At least 14,900 cases of denial of humanitarian access to children have been registered.


Between 2005 and 2020, more than 266,000 serious injuries were reported to children in more than 30 conflict zones in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. This number is arguably higher as access restrictions often make it difficult to report and investigate these violations.

Armed groups have a duty under international humanitarian law to protect civilians, including children.

Children must be protected at all costs!

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