Iraq: Another war on children

26 Jun 2014

In an urgent Child Protection Alert released by War Child UK today, shocking testimonies of family rape and suicide are revealed as humanitarian funding for keeping children safe remains 93% unmet by donors.

Incidents have been confirmed of the gravest violations against children’s rights in the form of attacks against schools and hospitals, recruitment and use of children by armed groups including in suicide bomb attacks and abduction, killing and maiming of children. The risk of sexual violence for children is extremely high and there are deep concerns over humanitarian access being denied and not reaching the most vulnerable children.

During needs assessments this week, War Child UK were told of militias going door to door and asking families for protection money. In one case a father, mother, son and daughter – living together in their family home in Mosul, were unable to provide the money. The militias entered their home and raped both the mother and the young daughter. The father and son were forced to watch. What they witnessed was so horrifying, that both father and son committed suicide the same day. The mother and daughter are missing and no one knows where they are.

In response to the appalling atrocities taking place in the region, War Child UK is calling for:

- Donor commitment to plug a funding gap of 93% for protection and child protection needs in the country.

-  UN and international organisation’s to respond urgently to the growing humanitarian emergency.

- Diplomatic efforts to support a political solution to the violent crisis and ensure humanitarian access is secured across all affected communities.

- Long-term, predictable support and funding from the international community to help rebuild lives and prevent further long-term deterioration of peace and stability.

- The Iraqi government to fulfil its responsibility towards its citizens’ care and protection.

Between the 5th and 22nd June 2014, the death toll has reached an average of at least 59 deaths per day.

  • 2014’s upsurge in violence follows a sharp increase in 2013 that saw three children killed every other day in attacks, shelling, or in cross-fire (more than double the number reported of killing and maiming in 2012).  
  • 250,000 newly displaced children and Iraq was already the seventh largest source of refugees in the world in 2013. 

A War Child report released in 2013 predicted a total collapse of the state of Iraq owing to growing sectarian tensions and long-term international humanitarian neglect. The last few weeks have brought the country ever closer to this grim reality, with children both targeted and victim to indiscriminate attacks amid the violent chaos.

Dan Collison, War Child’s Director of Programmes, said:

“We are seeing a swift deterioration in security on the ground and sense it is going to get worse and worse. The stories emerging from the internally displaced are horrifying and these incidents are only beginning to come to light - we dread to think what traumas children are going through as we speak”.

War Child UK is working to respond to children’s needs and running Child Friendly Spaces to provide sanctuary and education to the most vulnerable displaced children.

Read the full report here: