UN rights investigators on Thursday said various warring parties in Syria have been targeting children for years, creating millions of underage victims who have been forced to flee and are not getting proper education.
In a report covering the conflict since 2011, the UN Commission on Syria listed various violations against children, including bombings, gassing, rape and forced recruitment for war.
The UN human rights experts estimated that 2.6 million children were displaced within Syria, while 2.5 million fled abroad as refugees.
The commission stated that “till date, more than 2.1 million girls and boys within Syria have ceased to attend school on regular basis, tens of thousands have missed years of education.”
It added that schools were repeatedly targeted by pro-government forces.
Activists reported that on Jan. 1, no fewer than eight civilians were killed in a rocket attack by Syrian government forces on a school in the country’s last opposition stronghold of Idlib.
“Urgent efforts are required by the Syrian government to armed groups holding territory, also need to act with haste to facilitate access to education, support as many children as possible to return to education,’’ commission member Karen Abuzayd added.
The report also highlighted the mental trauma that many children suffer from experiencing attacks, sieges, torture, detention and flight, and from losing their normal way of life.
“Many boys and girls have described how they suffer from serious sleeping disorders, as well as feelings of insecurity, abandonment, revenge, frustration and fear,’’ the commission said, summing up 5,000 interviews with Syrian children and adults.