At least 2,000 children were forcefully conscripted as combatants by Nigeria’s Boko Haram militants in 2016 alone, UNICEF said Tuesday as world leaders gathered in Paris for a conference on the protection of children in armed conflict, APA reports quoting Anadolu agency.
The figure of captured children recruited as fighters came from the African countries of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, where the insurgency has raged, UNICEF said in a statement for the one-day Paris International Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Children in Armed Conflicts.
The group added that tens of thousands of children have also been recruited as fighters across countries where armed conflicts are ongoing, including South Sudan, the Central Africa Republic (CAR), Syria, and elsewhere.
“Ten years ago the world made a commitment to the children of war and matched it with action -- action that has helped give 65,000 children a new chance for a better life,” a statement commemorating 10 years since the signing of the Paris Commitments quoted UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake as saying.
“But today’s meeting is not only about looking back at what has been accomplished -- but looking forward to the work that remains to be done to support the children of war,” the statement added.
The statement said the number of countries that have endorsed the Paris Commitments has nearly doubled in 10 years, from 58 countries in 2007 to 105 at present, signaling an increasing global commitment to end the use of children in conflict.