UNICEF Statement on the Continued Abduction, Torture, and Rape of Children Around the World
Friday, June 20, 2008 1:32 PM

UNICEF Statement on the continued abduction, torture and rape of children around the world

20 June 2008  

UNICEF is deeply concerned by increasing reports of kidnappings and abduction of children by criminal gangs and armed groups, particularly in countries affected by violence. In many cases these abductions are being carried out with impunity.

In the first six months of 2008, more than 50 children have been kidnapped in Haiti. Instances of rape and torture of kidnapped children have been reported and in some instances the victims have been murdered.  The authorities suspect criminal gangs in search of easy profits are responsible for many recent kidnappings. Most of the perpetrators remain unpunished.

In Central African Republic, armed gangs have seized on the instability created by conflict to terrorize rural farms and communities, including by kidnapping children and holding them for ransom.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thousands of children have been rounded up by armed groups and used as child soldiers or held in captivity as sexual slaves for extended periods of time.

In Iraq, UNICEF has received reports that a growing number of children have been recruited and used by militias and insurgent groups and that girls are increasingly subject to murder, kidnapping and rape, or are being abducted and trafficked within or outside Iraq for sexual exploitation.

These are just some examples of reports that UNICEF is receiving.

It is everyone’s duty to ensure children are safe from harm, and governments have a responsibility to enact and enforce measures that provide a protective environment for all children.

Published in: "UNICEF Statement on the continued abduction, torture and rape of children around the world," Press Release, UNICEF, 20 June 2008.