Millions of children are caught up in conflicts in which they are not merely bystanders, but targets. Some fall victim to a general onslaught against civilians; others die as part of a calculated genocide. Still other children suffer the effects of sexual violence or the multiple deprivations of armed conflict that expose them to hunger or disease. Just as shocking, thousands of young people are cynically exploited as combatants.
In the past decade, around 2 million children have been killed in armed conflict, three times as many have been seriously injured or permanently disabled, and countless others have been forced to witness or even to take part in horrifying acts of violence.
Graca Michel, Impact of Armed Conflict on Children, UNICEF
In the wars of the last decade, more children were killed than soldiers. Child victims of war include an estimated 2 million killed, 4 to 5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, and more than 1 million orphaned.