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UN delegation discusses Iraqi childhood amid armed conflicts, aftermath

Iraqi children 1
Displaced Iraqi children, who fled the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul, stand at a fence at Debaga camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Erbil, Iraq. (Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

The Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs discussed Thursday the status of Iraqi children amid armed conflicts and its aftermath with a UN delegation.

An official statement by the ministry said it is constantly following up on plans and steps to improve the situation of Iraqi children through international protocols and rehabilitation programs.

Iraq’s children have been facing enormous challenges, since the 2003 conflict, hindering them from enjoying health care, education, safe life and a stable community, being swept away by violence and displacement.

According to a UN report, every day, more and more children are losing family members, friends and neighbors, school days, their health, their hopes, and even their lives.

The UN report, entitled ‘Immediate Needs for Iraqi Children in Iraq and Neighboring Countries,’ said that since 2003, nearly 15 per cent of Iraq’s total population have fled their homes – 50 per cent of them children.

Out of an estimated four million displaced Iraqis, approximately 1.9 million have sought refuge inside Iraq (around 700,000 in 2006 alone) and 2.2 million have crossed the border into neighboring countries.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), amongst those fleeing are doctors, nurses and teachers - a devastating brain-drain leaving many Iraqi schoolchildren without access to quality education and basic health care.

Moreover, more than 750,000 Iraqis have sought safety in Jordan and over 1.25 million in Syria where, despite support from government and local communities, they now face an uncertain future.

Iraq’s children, already casualties of a quarter of a century of conflict and deprivation, are being caught up in a rapidly worsening humanitarian tragedy.

The report further added that despite a strong response from the international community, the needs of Iraq’s vulnerable young citizens are quickly outstripping available help. Regional resources to cope with the influx are being stretched to the limit.

Inside Iraq and abroad, families are spending the last of their life savings to rent homes and to purchase basic supplies for survival. Many people are reaching the very limit of their coping strategies.

It is pertinent to mention that the UNICEF requested $ 41,750,000 to step up its humanitarian relief effort for vulnerable Iraqi children and women in Iraq, Jordan and Syria over the next six months.

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