The United Nations today reaffirmed its commitment to protect and promote the rights of 16 million Iraqi children, on the occasion of the Day of the Iraqi Child, which commemorates the deaths of dozens of children who were killed by a car bomb on 13 July, 2005.
“UNICEF remains very concerned about the continuing grave violations committed against children in Iraq and calls on all actors to cease indiscriminate acts of violence that harm children” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative to the country, Marzio Babille, said in a news release.
According to the UN’s monitoring and reporting mechanism for grave violations of children’s rights in Iraq, 49 children have been killed and a further 169 injured in various incidents across Iraq this year alone. Thirteen grave violations affecting children's access to health and education have also been confirmed.
Last year, 84 children were killed, 130 injured and 29 violations affecting children’s access to health and education were confirmed.
To tackle this issue, UNICEF is supporting the Iraqi Government to develop a Child Protection Policy and Child Law, with a nationwide consultation process being initiated to enable children, families and communities to participate in their development.
“This consultation process will give the opportunity for children and their families to discuss the most pressing child protection issues they are facing in their daily lives” said Mr. Babille. “Hearing their concerns and proposed solutions for them will ensure that the Government’s final child protection policy and law will best protect children in the future.”
Consultations will take place in the coming months through focus group discussions, meetings, workshops and conferences in all 18 governorates, UNICEF said. Citizens wishing to participate can also do so via an electronic consultation system including websites, social media platforms and online polls.
Issues that will be given specific attention include children in conflict with the law, working children, displaced children and children living with disabilities and without parental care. Discrimination and gender-based violence, particularly early and forced marriage, as well as the impact of violence against children in the context of armed conflict will also be addressed, UNICEF added.
The UN children’s agency has been working in Iraq since 1983.