Martin Kobler, Head of MONUSCO, urges all to save children of DRC from the scourge of war

22 Jul 2014

Martin Kobler, Head of MONUSCO, urges all to save children of DRC from the scourge of war

UN report on Children and Armed Conflict in the DRC
More than 6,000 children victims of conflict related violence in DRC

Kinshasa, 21 July, 2014: More than 6 000 Congolese children were victims of violence between January 2010 and December 2013, reveals a UN report on the impact of the conflict on children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, launched today in New York.

Many children were recruited to fight with armed groups. Others were raped, abducted and their schools attacked.

“Statistics are one thing, but behind every single case there is a tragedy for a child, a family, a community. I have spoken to children who served in armed groups with weapons almost too big for them and listened to their heartbreaking stories of the atrocities they witnessed and were sometimes forced to commit”, declared Martin Kobler, the head of MONUSCO.

The report notes that progress have been achieved in the protection of children affected by armed conflict since October 2012, when an Action Plan was signed by the Prime Minister, Matata Ponyo.

While a handful of perpetrators of these heinous crimes were prosecuted, more need to be brought to justice.

“I urge the Government to pursue and bring to justice perpetrators from within its own ranks and from armed groups. The cycle of violence has to end, and all resources made available to protect children so they can grow into mature and healthy adults’stressed Martin Kobler.

Note to Editors

4,194 children were recruited and used by armed groups and forces, including 41 girls;

206 children were killed and maimed as a direct result of conflict-related violence:

867 children were abducted, 180 schools and 83 health centers were attacked or used for military purposes;

At least 900 children were exposed to sexual violence by parties to the conflict.

Of the recruited children, approximately a third was under the age of 15, which is a war crime.

A gradual decrease in recruitment by the armed forces was documented during the reporting period and more than 16,000 victims of the conflict received support from UNICEF and their partners.