New York, (UNA-OIC) - The world's children living in conflict zones have come under attack on a shocking scale this year, UNICEF said Thursday.
Attackers have "blatantly" disregarded international laws designed to protect the most vulnerable, the organization said in a statement.
"Children are being targeted and exposed to attacks and brutal violence in their homes, schools, and playgrounds," UNICEF's Director of Emergency Programs Manuel Fontaine said.
The world must not become numb to these attacks, he added, saying "such brutality cannot be the new normal."
Children have become frontline targets in conflicts around the world, used as human shields, killed, maimed and recruited to fight. Rape, forced marriage, abduction, and enslavement have become standard tactics in conflicts from Syria and Yemen to Nigeria and Myanmar, UNICEF said.
Millions more children become indirect casualties of these conflicts, suffering from malnutrition, disease, and trauma as basic services � including access to food, water, sanitation, and health � are denied, damaged or destroyed in the fighting.
The statement cited significant statistics including that in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Kasai region, violence has driven 850,000 children from their homes and an estimated 350,000 children have suffered from severe acute malnutrition.
In Yemen, nearly 1,000 days of fighting left at least 5,000 children dead or injured, according to verified data, with actual numbers expected to be much higher. More than 11 million children need humanitarian assistance.
Source: International Islamic News Agency