UNICEF is extremely concerned about the impact on children of the escalating conflict in Somalia.
"Increasing numbers of children and civilians are being caught in attacks and cross-fire across the south and centre of Somalia," said UNICEF Somalia Representative Sikander Khan. "Over the last several weeks, we have seen a very worrying rise in killings and serious injuries of children."
According to the UN's monitoring and reporting mechanism for grave violations of children's rights, 24 children were killed in the conflict in October, with 58 seriously injurwed. So far, over 100 children have been killed in conflict.
Also of concern are the recruitment and use of children for armed services and sexual violence of children and women. This year, the UN’s monitoring and reporting mechanism has confirmed over 600 children to be recruited and used for armed service with over 200 more, mostly girls, confirmed to have been raped.
"In accordance with international law, we call on all parties to the conflict in Somalia to stop all killing, maiming, recruitment for armed services and rape of children. All children must immediately be assured of safety and protection from hostile acts," stated Khan.
Escalating violence also threatens the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
"Many of the hundreds of thousands of children already facing a situation of life and death due to famine and disease are now facing the risk of having life-saving assistance cut off to them. We call on all actors to enable us to respond fully and rapidly to children and women in urgent need," Khan declared.