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UN to investigate killings, injuries of children in Ukraine


A woman holds a child next to Russian soldiers on a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022, as Russian troops step up their campaign to take the strategic port city, in a planned massive attack in eastern Russia. Ukraine, as the Russian President defiantly pleads for war against Russia’s neighbour. – *EDITORS NOTE: This photo was taken during a trip organized by the Russian army.*

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday ordered an inquiry into the deaths and injuries of children in Ukraine as the Russian conflict escalates in the war-torn country.

António Guterres called for the findings to be published in the UN’s annual world report ‘Children and Armed Conflict’, which verifies accounts of abductions, sexual violence as well as other violations like child recruitment to fight in conflicts.

“In view of the ongoing war in Ukraine, including violations against civilians, including children, due to the high intensity of this conflict, this situation will be added as a situation of concern with immediate effect and will be included in my next report,” Guterres wrote in this year’s report, which was released on Monday.

António Guterres also called for similar surveys to be carried out in Ethiopia and Mozambique.

Monday’s report found that more than 2,500 children were killed in global conflicts in 2021 and another 5,555 were maimed. The highest number of verified violations against children have been documented in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

The call for an investigation in Ukraine comes as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warns that her office has gathered growing evidence that Russian forces have committed unlawful killings and summary executions.

Bachelet said UN investigators had recovered more than 1,200 civilian bodies in Kyiv and his office was working to corroborate more than 300 allegations of killings by Russian forces in situations that were unrelated to active fights.

An avenue in Mariupol on April 12, 2022. The besieged Ukrainian city could now face a deadly cholera outbreak, according to NBC News citing local officials.

Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images

In April, the UN voted to strip Russia of its membership of the Human Rights Council following accusations that Russian troops tortured and killed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, a suburb near Kyiv.

The bodies were discovered after Moscow withdrew its troops from Bucha. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the aftermath, which he saw firsthand on Monday, as “genocide” and accused Russia of war crimes.

The Kremlin has previously described its military actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” and denied targeting civilians.

A child eats while people wait for a train to Poland at the railway station in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 6, 2022, 11 days after Russia launched a military invasion against the Ukraine.

Yuriy Dyachyshyn | AFP | Getty Images

Last month, the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, said nearly two-thirds of Ukrainian children had been displaced since the Kremlin war began in late February.

“I would say that every child in Ukraine, their life has been touched by this war. Either they lost a family member or they themselves witnessed trauma,” said Afshan Khan, regional director of UNICEF, to journalists at the United Nations. .

“With two-thirds of the country’s children on the move, we cannot say that a single child’s life has not been touched,” Khan added.

Khan also said the staggering number of schools destroyed by Russian strikes in Ukraine presents another grim challenge to child development.

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