UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official website] issued [press release] a new report [text, PDF] on Monday detailing the violations committed against children in conflict zones. The report discussed each conflict zone, including Afghanistan [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Central African Republic [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Chad [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Sudan [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], South Sudan [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Democratic Republic of Congo [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and Syria [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], and the situation of children in each country. The report, which covers the period from January to December 2011, revealed that the continued conflicts in these zones have detrimental effects on children. The violations were identified as "recruitment and use of children, sexual violence against children, the killing and maiming of children, the abduction of children, attacks on schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian access to children by parties to conflict in contravention of applicable international law." With the report, Ban issued a list of shame, as well as a list of persistent perpetrators, naming all responsible parties for the violation against children in the conflict zones. He expressed his deep concern regarding an increasing use of children as suicide bombers and "victim" bombers who do not know that they are carrying explosives. Moreover, in Syria, children are used as human shields by placing them in front of bus windows when moving military personnel.
It is not the first time that Syria has been criticized for its crimes against children. Earlier this month, the UN Human Rights Council [official website] condemned [JURIST report] Syria after a 41-3 vote for killing more than 100 civilians in the Houla region including women and children. Few days earlier, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] revealed [JURIST report] that most of the victims in the Houla incident were shot at close range, an indication of an mass execution. In April, the Human Rights Council had called Syria [JURIST report] to end the violence by approving a legally binding resolution. In February, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) [official website] reported [JURIST report] that the prevalent violence in Syria had caused the death and injuries of hundreds of children.