On the Day of the Iraqi Child, UNICEF Reconfirms its Commitment to Protect the Rights of Children in Iraq

Baghdad, 13 July 2011. On the occasion of the Day of the Iraqi Child, UNICEF reconfirms its commitment to protect and promote the rights of Iraq’s 15 million children and calls upon all duty bearers to join its efforts in making Iraq more fit for children by investing in the basic needs of children, especially the around four million who are most deprived.
In commemoration of the death of dozens of children from a car bombing on July 13th, 2005, UNICEF remains concerned about the indiscriminate violence that continues to violate the rights of children in Iraq. In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1612, UNICEF and its partners continue to closely monitor, report, advocate on and respond to grave violations committed against children in Iraq, including: the recruitment of children as soldiers and fighters, killing and maiming, abduction, sexual abuse, and attacks on schools and hospitals.
In 2008, figures provided by the Government of Iraq reported that 376 children were killed and 1,594 were wounded, and in 2009 it was reported that 362 children were killed and 1,044 wounded. For all of 2010, the monitoring and reporting mechanism of the MRM has documented that at least 194 children have been killed and a further 232 wounded, while the official figures from the Government of Iraq for the first nine months of 2010 report that 134 children were killed and 590 wounded.
Iraq marks the Day of the Iraqi Child this year a day after the United Nations Security Council recognized schools and hospitals as safe havens for children, and called for all parties that attack such facilities to be held accountable and that they be added to the list published annually by the United Nations of those who commit grave violations against children.
In Iraq, it was noted that attacks against schools and professionals of the education sector i.e. teachers and administrative staff, have significantly increased. While some of the reported attacks cannot be labeled as attacks against schools per se, they have a significant impact on the Education sector and on the children’s right to education. During the past two months, May and June, a total of 11 incidents targeting or affecting schools, teachers, and education officials were documented by the MRM network.
Working closely with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Child Welfare Commission, UNICEF continues to support the Government of Iraq to develop a Child Protection Policy and Child Law to better ensure the protection of all children across Iraq. UNICEF reiterates that the protection of children, especially those affected by armed conflict, can only be achieved through a strong partnership with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi Civil Society.

For further information, please contact:
Elias Diab, Child Protection Officer, ediab@unicef.org, mobile: 00962 79 9997485
Salam Abdulmunem, Communications Officer, sabdulmunem@unicef.org, mobile: 00964 780 912 6782

About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been on the ground in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF is supporting the Government of Iraq to develop child friendly policies, build the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children, and convene all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes continue to improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, rebuild water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet