injured Ukrainian children

Staff at Zaporizhzhia Regional Children's Clinical Hospital in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine treat children wounded during Russian shelling of the city on March 18, 2022.

(Photo: Dmytro Smolyenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Armed Attacks on Schools and Hospitals in Conflict Zones Up 112% Last Year: UN

More than 8,800 children were killed or maimed in wars and other violence around the world in what a top U.N. official called another "dire" year for minors caught up in conflict.

There were more than 1,100 recorded armed attacks on schools and hospitals around the world last year—more than double the number reported in 2021—according to an annual report on children in wars and other conflicts published Tuesday by the office of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

This year's Children and Armed Conflict Conflict report counts 8,831 children killed or injured in wars and other violence, with another 7,622 minors recruited by or forced to join armed groups.

The publication states there were 27,180 "grave violations" involving children in 24 different "conflict situations" last year, including 1,163 attacks on schools and hospitals—a 112% increase from 2021.

"The countries recording the highest number of violationswere the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Israel, the state of Palestine, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Yemen," according to the report.

The report said Myanmar, South Sudan, and Burkina Faso experienced the worst deterioration in regard to violations against children last year, while Haiti and Niger warrant growing concern.

The publication noted 3,377 U.N.-verified violations against or involving children in the DRC last year, nearly half of which involved recruitment by anti-government rebel groups.

"Many children growing up in the DRC are living through the toughest experiences imaginable," Greg Ramm, DRC country director for U.K.-based Save the Children, said in a statement.

"Every day children are experiencing harrowing violations against their rights. They've watched their homes and schools be destroyed," Ramm added. "Armed groups force their friends and family members into armed recruitment, and many have survived sexual and gender-based violence, abuse, and abductions."

Russia was added to the global "list of shame" this year due to its armed forces and allies killing or maiming 1,386 children during the ongoing invasion of Ukraine—which was left off the list even though its homeland-defending military killed or wounded 255 minors.

As Common Dreams reported last week, Israel—whose forces killed or injured nearly 1,000 children last year—and Palestine were also left off the "list of shame."

U.N. Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Virginia Gamba said there had been an "important decrease" in Israeli airstrikes during 2022, which critics said was only due to the fact that there was no full-scale Israeli war on Gaza last year like there was in 2021, when 67 minors were among the 256 Palestinians killed during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

However, Gamba voiced concerns over Israeli attacks in the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as violations committed by Palestinian militants resisting or retaliating against Israeli forces.

"Israel's continued omission from the list of shame does a grave disservice to Palestinian children," Jo Becker, advocacy director for children at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement Tuesday. "The secretary-general's continued unwillingness to hold Israeli forces accountable for massive violations puts many children at risk."

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