Since 1982, on June 4, the International Day of Innocent Victims of Aggression is celebrated in honor of the children affected by conflicts
The children, the most vulnerable members of society, are the ones who suffer the most from consequences of wars and conflicts. Children are victims of recruitment as soldiers, homicide, sexual violence, kidnapping, having as a factor of weakness their age that forces them to bow down. In addition, "the attacks on schools and hospitals, as well as the absence of humanitarian aid directly affect the possibility of growing up as people and of developing fully," says Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF.
On June 4 of each year is commemorated the International Day of Innocent Victims of Aggression. The purpose of this day is to recognize the pain suffered by children all over the world, who are victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. "This day also reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to protect the rights of the child," says the United Nations (UN) on its official website. Although initially the date was created due to the situation between Palestine and Israel, and the victims of the conflict, its purpose increased over the years to all kinds of aggression towards children.
The objective of this date is to "generate actions that promote the protection of children's rights, in conditions of peace and security, without the harmful effects of armed conflicts," says Marita Perceval, Regional Director of UNICEF Latin America and the Caribbean. For Perceval, this objective is one that involves world governments and international institutions that work for children, to organize themselves in such a way that guarantees social and cultural processes for child protection, thus avoiding their participation in armed struggles, social conflicts, and abandonment.
The situation of children in the face of violence
In total, there are more than 230 million children, 1 in 10, who currently live in areas affected by armed conflicts. Syria, Yemen, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Nigeria are just some of the countries with the greatest child-suffering concentration due to violence, according to UNICEF's latest report on violence against children.
For the Regional Director of UNICEF, Latin America and the Caribbean is not only a region where there is greater social inequality, but also "a region crossed by different forms of violence. We have the highest rate of homicides of children and adolescents in the world, causing 25,000 deaths per year. Two out of every three girls and boys under 15 suffer physical or psychological violence at home. It is estimated that 1.1 million adolescent women, between 15 and 19 years of age, are victims of sexual abuse."
Since 1982 the day is commemorated
On August 19 ,1982, at its emergency special session on the Question of Palestine, the General Assembly of the United Nations, "appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel's acts of aggression", decided to commemorate on June 4 of each year the International Day of Innocent Victims of Aggression. Every year, on this day, a celebration is held for children affected by conflicts, especially in Palestine, and the figures of violence towards children of the immediately preceding year are released.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF lead the presentation of reports on the situation. However, NGOs like Save the Children take the opportunity to pressure governments and society to increase their perception of the problem, in order to generate more visibility to the situation of children.
Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella
Translated from "Esto es lo que necesita saber sobre el Día Internacional de los Niños Víctimas de Agresión"