Friday, January 04, 2008

Unicef report: 'Little respite for Iraq’s children'

' An estimated two million children in Iraq continue to face threats including poor nutrition, disease and interrupted education'.





'Iraqi children were frequently caught in the crossfire of conflict throughout 2007. Insecurity and displacement continues to cause hardship for many in the most insecure parts of the country and further eroded access to quality essential services country-wide. Iraq remains volatile; however conditions begin to allow for more a concerted effort to deliver assistance'.

“Iraqi children are paying far too high a price,” said Roger Wright, UNICEF’s Special Representative for Iraq. “While we have been providing as much assistance as possible, a new window of opportunity is opening, which should enable us to reach the most vulnerable with expanded, consistent support. We must act now.”

Available information from different sources shows that:

Children in remote and hard-to-reach areas were frequently cut off from health outreach services.

Only 20 per cent outside Baghdad had working sewerage in their community, and access to safe water remains a serious issue.

An average 25,000 children per month were displaced by violence or intimidation, their families seeking shelter in other parts of Iraq.

By the end of the year, approximately 75,000 children had resorted to living in camps or temporary shelters (25 per cent of those newly-displaced since the Samarra shrine bombing in February 2006).

Hundreds of children lost their lives or were injured by violence and many more had their main family wage-earner kidnapped or killed.

Approximately 1,350 children were detained by military and police authorities, many for alleged security violations.

Only 28 per cent of Iraq’s 17 year olds sat their final exams in summer, and only 40 per cent of those sitting exams achieved a passing grade (in south and central Iraq).

Many of 220,000 displaced children of primary school age had their education interrupted, adding to the estimated 760,000 children (17 per cent) already out of primary school in 2006'.

Source