UN official urges Syria to immediately end violations against children

Radhika Coomaraswamy, Special Representative to the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict. UN Photo/E. Debebe

9 February 2012 – After another day of deadly violence in Syria, a senior United Nations official today added her voice to calls on the country’s Government to stop the killing and maiming of children.

“Over the past months, the number of child victims in Syria has climbed into the hundreds and the rate is increasing,” said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, in a statement.

“The situation is particularly harrowing in Homs where reports of the killing of children and shelling of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, are received daily.”

Top UN officials have repeatedly called on the Government to end its violence against the Syrian people, amid a rising death toll that has surpassed 5,000 since the uprising began in March, and to seek a peaceful and durable solution to the crisis.

Ms. Coomaraswamy is the latest official to call on the protection of children in the country. Earlier this week the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) voiced its concern over reports that children are being arbitrarily arrested, tortured and sexually abused while in detention.

“We have reported cases of detention of children charged with alleged association with armed groups, ill-treatment, and acts tantamount to torture which have resulted in some child deaths,” Ms. Coomaraswamy stressed, adding that her office and its partners would continue to report on the violations committed by all parties in Syria against children.

Yesterday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told journalists that the UN and the League of Arab States are considering sending a joint observer mission to Syria to try to end the crisis. His statement came a few days after the Security Council failed to pass a draft resolution that endorsed an Arab League plan to resolve the conflict.

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