|UNITED NATIONS, June 28, 2018 -- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday was "outraged" at the high number of the more-than 21,000 violations committed against children in armed conflict in 2017, including the more than 10,000 slain or maimed.
"The secretary-general is outraged at this number, a significant increase compared to previous years and documented in his annual report on children and armed Conflict published (Wednesday)," said his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.
"Children are also affected by other verified violations, including the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups, sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals," Guterres said, according to the spokesman.
"Boys and girls have once again been overly impacted by protracted and new violent crisis," Dujarric cited Guterres as saying. "Despite some progress, the level of violations remains unacceptable."
The more than 21,000 grave violations of children's rights is seen as a drastic increase from the previous years, with 15,500 violations in 2016, said Virginia Gamba, a special representative of the UN chief at the launch of the report.
She described the plight of children caught up in such violence as "despicable."
Gamba said among the violations, some 15,000 were perpetrated by non-state armed groups and about 9,000 were committed by government forces.
The crises in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen brought about the serious increases in verified grave violations, the report said.
In Syria, children have suffered the highest number of verified violations ever recorded in the country; in the DRC, crises in the Kasais led to an eightfold increase of attacks on schools and hospitals, which numbered 515, according to the report.
On top of that, Afghanistan suffered the highest conflict-related child casualties, Gamba said.
"The secretary-general reiterates that the best way to address this horrific situation is to promote peaceful solutions to conflicts. He calls on all parties to exert maximum efforts in this regard," Dujarric said.
"The secretary-general reminds parties to conflict of their responsibility to protect children, in line with international humanitarian and human rights laws," the spokesman said.
"He calls on all parties to conflict to engage with the United Nations to develop concrete measures to end and prevent grave violations against children and to provide support and relief to affected children."