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UNICEF, institute partner to protect children in conflict-torn Northeastern Nigeria

By News Express on 05/03/2016

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The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has launched a partnership project with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) towards protecting children in the conflict-torn North-eastern Nigeria.

Mr Anil Rughavanshi, Manager, Child Protection in Emergencies, UNICEF, said this at the inaugural meeting with IPCR in Abuja.

Rughavanshi said that the partnership was to implement a project: ‘Community Coping Strategies Support for Children in Armed Conflicts in the North-eastern Nigeria.’

He decried the vulnerability of children in armed conflicts saying, that they were the most affected.

“Children in armed conflicts are affected doubly: they have all the problems faced by their counterparts in Abuja or Lagos; yet they are also facing problems due to the conflicts.

“Children are more vulnerable because they are least capable of protecting themselves.

“If there is fighting going on, a child is more vulnerable to killing, injuries or any other violence.”

He said that the issue of child protection had become very important because of the percentage of children population in Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, more than 50 per cent of the population is below the age of 18 years; so, these are children.

“Also, that means that when we talk about the child, we are talking about the most vulnerable population with that high number, and many of them are already suffering.

“This UNICEF Child Protection in Emergencies is working on responding to child protection issues in the North East of Nigeria.”

He explained that many children whose parents were killed or had been separated from their families during conflicts had nobody to live with and consequently, had become unaccompanied children.

According to him, unaccompanied children are more vulnerable to sexual violence, sexual exploitation, child labour, trafficking, killing, abduction and many other things as a result of displacement.

The UNICEF official said that armed conflicts affected the normal level of law and order, adding that “the protection level comes down while the vulnerability level goes up.”

According to him, their resolve is to work to fill that gap and increase the protection measures as well as decrease the vulnerability for children.

Rughavanshi asserted that the IPCR, as the ‘think-tank’ of Nigeria in strengthening the country’s capacity for the promotion of peace and conflict prevention, management and resolution, was strategic in the project.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of IPCR, Prof Oshita Oshita, commended the UNICEF’s focus at working for children's rights, survival, development and protection.

“We are aware of the UN Security Council concern about the child and its Resolution 1612 in particular; we all know the issues that were flagged by that resolution.

“So, it is our duty to ensure that we create an environment that will protect this category of people because all of us were once children.

“If we do not take care of children, then we do not expect people to grow to our own age and do the kind of work that we are doing.” (NAN)


Source News Express

Posted 05/03/2016 03:59:35 AM





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