It was 10 years ago today that George W. Bush stood in front of a banner proclaiming Mission Accomplished in Iraq.
Yet the country today is "one of the world's most neglected crises," where statistics of daily violence, death and insecurity -- and the people behind those statistics -- belie a war that is supposedly over, a report released Wednesday charges.
Mission Unaccomplished, from the UK-based War Child, a charity works for children in warn-torn countries, warns that Iraqi children are "being abandoned" by the international community as "a general and an inevitable risk of total collapse of the state" remains a possibility.
Among the statistics the report cites:
- Between December 3rd 2012 and April 23rd 2013, more than 1,236 Iraqi civilians have been killed, averaging 9 deaths per day. (The report also notes that this figure is likely a low estimate.)
- An estimated 692 children and young people have been killed since December last year.
- Nearly one million children are affected by the presence of landmines, which limit their access to essential services, and hundreds of children have been maimed or killed by exploded cluster bomblets since 1991.
- There are an estimated 35,000 infant deaths every year in Iraq.
- One in four children has stunted physical and intellectual development due to under-nutrition.
- In 2010, 7 years after the conflict began, it was estimated that over a quarter of Iraqi children, or 3 million, suffered varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- The life expectancy of ordinary Iraqis has gone down by two years in just over a decade.
"The international community cannot afford to ignore Iraq and there is an urgent need to exercise harder diplomatic and economic pressure on Iraqi government to save lives and to protect its citizens," the group's country director in Iraq stated.
The group also calls on international donors to continue their commitments to the country, focusing especially on the needs of children, increasing provisions for the country's refugees, many of whom have been forced to flee multiple times and executing landmine clearance programs.