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Syrian Children 2013
Syrian Children 2013

UN reports Grave Child Abuses in Syria

(DP-News – Omar alShaar )

United Nations- The United Nations added Syria's main rebel force for the first time to an annual "list of shame" of armed groups that recruit children, while Syrian regime forces were added to a list of groups that sexually abuse children.



The list was part of UN report on children and armed conflict which was released Wednesday. The new global UN report said that Thousands of children have been killed in the Syria uprising since March 2011.



Calling the toll "unbearable", the study said government forces and rebels were using boys and girls as "suicide bombers or human shields".



UN also harshly criticized the Syrian regime over accounts that it has detained and tortured minors to extract information on rebel groups.



UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon issued a report on children in armed conflict, detailing grave abuse going on in Syria and other countries, adding a few new members to the so-called “list of shame” of child abusers.



Although the report accuses Syrian rebels of recruiting children, it also accuses the government of detaining minors who side with the rebels, and allegedly extracting information out of them with torture.



Ban ki-Moon has condemned the abuse of children’s rights in the given conflict zones as “unacceptable and unbearable.”



Children in Syria were suffering "maybe the heaviest toll" in the world, said UN special representative Leila Zerrougui, who presented the findings.

"They are killed, they are maimed, they are recruited, they are detained, they are tortured", she told journalists in New York.



The UN’s report criticizes the Syrian government for failing to prevent its intelligence services from using detention and torture of children as a means of getting information, as well as alleging that sexual abuse is also taking place. The report then talks about child recruitment happening on the rebel side – usually children between 15 and 17.



The UN report also accused the Syrian armed forces and intelligence services of torturing minors, mostly boys, with electric shock, beatings and sexual assault. Some minors, related to opposition fighters, were held for ransom to force parents or other relatives to surrender, the report said. One 16-year-old boy from Idlib reported witnessing a 14-year-old friend sexually assaulted and killed while in government detention, the report said.

"The toll on children of the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic is unacceptable and unbearable," Ban said in the report. He called on Assad's government "to put an end to the detention and any form of ill-treatment, including torture, of children for alleged association with the opposition."



Ban said there were a growing number of reports of the Free Syrian Army, the main rebel umbrella group, recruiting children, mostly between 15 and 17.



The secretary-general’s report also informs that both the Syrian government and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces had both spoken to Zerrougi, reassuring her of their commitment to working together with the United Nations at tackling the problems of child abuse, recruitment and torture.



The annual report on children of armed conflict covered 21 countries, detailing new abuses against children in some conflict zones and progress in others. Fifty-five armed groups from 14 countries were included in "lists of shame," some for recruiting children and others for other abuses against minors. The report also detailed progress in protecting children in other conflict zones.

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