Last month, to commemorate the Day of the Iraqi Child, UNICEF representative in Iraq, Marzio Babille, stated they "remain very concerned about the continuing grave violations committed against children in Iraq and called for an end to "indiscriminate acts of violence that harm children.”
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.
UNICEF is supporting the Iraqi Government to develop a Child Protection Policy and a Childrens Law, where issues to be given priority will include children in conflict with the law, working children, displaced children and children living with disabilities and without parental care.
The loss of thousands of parents and caregivers from conflict has made children even more vulnerable to harassment, exploitation, and abuse as they may find themselves orphaned and abandoned with nowhere to turn. This severely weakened protective environment creates conditions for child labour and child marriage across Iraq.
Children are also being used by armed groups as scouts, lookouts, and spies, to man checkpoints, to transport explosives and equipment, to plant explosive devices such as roadside bombs, and as suicide bombers: All activities which meet the definition of child soldiers.