A UNICEF report released Tuesday says that over the past two years, 1 in every 5 Boko Haram suicide bombers has been a child. Three-quarters of the children used as bombers were girls, with the youngest among them said to be 8. "To me that's the epitome of evil," said United Nations humanitarian coordinator Toby Lanzer.
Conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East have prevented more than 13 million children from attending school, says a UNICEF report. Attacks on schools and displacement are two main reasons for the lack of attendance. "We are on the verge of a lost generation of kids," says Peter Salama, the UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Technology, such as birth certificates generated on cellphones, is helping children live better lives, says UNICEF in its annual State of the World's Children report. "There are innovative minds and people all over the world that are coming up with solutions that can be game changers in terms of helping children to stay alive and realize their full potential," says Jaya Murthy, UNICEF's Uganda spokesman. Challenges include child marriage, child labor and discrimination against disabled children.
Emotional and physical violence affects millions of children globally, with most of it occurring in the home and outside war zones, says a UNICEF report. "It occurs in places where children should be safe: their homes, schools and communities. Increasingly, it happens over the Internet. And it is perpetrated by family members and teachers, neighbors and strangers, and other children," said Geeta Rao Gupta of UNICEF.
Half of the world's 10 million deaths of children under the age of five every year occur in Africa, UNICEF has reported. Many of the children die from preventable or treatable conditions, such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia, the UN children's agency said.