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Make 2017 a better year for the world’s children

| April 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

Researchers from organisations like the United Nations (UN) say that 2016 was the worst year for children in the history of the world. Reporter Billy Briggs, writing for in December 2016, reported that nearly 500 million children live in countries torn apart by war, natural disaster and disease.

The five-year-old complex conflict in Syria has caused an estimated 11 million Syrians to flee their homeland. Turkey has offered safe refuge to almost three million Syrian refugees. Says Briggs, “There are more than 800 000 Syrian refugee children in Turkey, 400 000 of them out of school.” Turkey faced other serious troubles in 2016, too. “There are 181 036 child brides in our country,” women’s rights advocate, Nuriye Kadan, said during a conference in . Izmir.

A further 1.1 million Syrian refugees (half of them children) are begging on the streets of Lebanon and Jordan, according to the International Rescue Committee. International aid organisation Save the Children estimates that one million Iraqi children who live under the rule of the Islamic State (IS) do not receive schooling. Yemen has seven million child citizens and a child dies every 10 minutes because of preventable disease and malnutrition. Thousands of schools in Yemen are not fit for human occupation and two million children are out of school.

The Lake Chad region in Africa encompasses Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. Militant group Boko Haram has destroyed or occupied over 1 500 schools. In November 2016, reports Briggs, a UN visit to South Sudan confirmed widespread ethnic cleansing, burning villages, looming starvation and gang rape “so prevalent that it’s become normal”.

In Afghanistan, about 3.5 million are out of school, most of them girls, says Briggs. One thousand schools closed in 2016 and 300 were destroyed. This situation is the work of the militant Taliban. In 2016, the El Niño weather phenomenon, combined with the increasing impact of climate change, saw Ethiopia suffer its worst food crisis in 30 years, as crops failed to due to severe drought. Those worst affected by famine were children. Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, China, India, Russia, Brazil and Mexico are other countries where, in 2016, children were rendered more vulnerable than ever due to threats like child trafficking and child labour. 

Category: Autumn 2017

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