Children of the world caught between violence and exploitation

Children of the world caught between violence and exploitation
Columnist Mohamed al Hammadi - Jusoor Post

As the world celebrated June 12 as the World Day Against Child Labour, we remember that the world itself had made a promise to end “child labour” by next year, 2025, as stated in Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals.


But as we are in the middle of 2024, the reality is that there are still 160 million children working today in various countries of the world in blatant exploitation of childhood and disregard for all international agreements and covenants.


This year, the scene seems more miserable for children, not because of their employment, but because of the enormous violence they are exposed to in different locations around the world. In the Arab region alone, there are thousands of children paying the price for crimes committed by adults. In the Gaza Strip, since October 7, more than 15,000 children have been killed, the majority of whom are school students and kindergarteners, and more than 3,500 children are at risk of death due to malnutrition and food shortages due to the war. According to UNICEF estimates, there are at least 17,000 children in Gaza who are now living without their families or have been separated from their families just four months after the start of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. UNICEF reported that “almost all of Gaza’s one million children” need mental health assistance, compared to half a million before Israel began its war on the Gaza Strip on October 7.


The situation in Yemen is no better. Since the Houthi militia’s coup and its takeover of power, more than 11,500 children have been killed or injured for reasons related to the conflict, and there are nearly 10 million Yemeni children who are still in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. More than 2.7 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, and 49 percent of children under the age of five suffer from stunting or chronic malnutrition. The Houthi militia’s process of recruiting children as young as 13 years old has entered a “new and dangerous” phase, with the establishment of military training centers for school students in all areas under its control.


In Sudan, which is considered the new wound in the region, its children pay the heaviest price. According to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, 24 million children in Sudan are at risk of a generational catastrophe after their rights to life, survival, protection, education, health, and development were exposed to serious and brutal violations.


The National Council for Child Welfare in Sudan also reported that 600 children lost their lives to hunger in recent months, while hundreds of them died in the Darfur region (west of the country) and Al-Jazira State (central), in addition to more than 10,000 children suffering from injuries that caused the loss of vital organs as a result of being hit by shells and explosives.


All these forms of exploitation, suffering and violence against children while the world celebrated the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on June 4.