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children suffer from wars

September 5, 2011

There is a UN booklet available online titled “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children,” in which the many effects of war on children are discussed (health, child development, promoting recovery, education, child soldiers, child refugees, gender-based violence, adolescents, international law, etc.).  It follows on from a report of the same name submitted to the General Assembly in 1996…

If war is to be discussed, such reports need to be considered…

“Even if they have never seen a gun, millions of children suffer from wars, as resources that could have been invested in development are diverted into armaments. Indeed, one of the most distressing realities of our time is that most wars have been fought in precisely those countries that could least afford them.”State of the World’s Children, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 1996

(Quoted in The Impact of Armed Conflict on Child Development section)

“Children need be the victims of war only if there is no will to prevent it. Experiences in dozens of conflicts confirm that extraordinary actions have been taken and can be taken to protect and provide for children.” State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 1996.

(Quoted in the Special Concerns section)

In New Zealand, we are fortunate not to have so much contact with war, but it does enter into our literature, public memory and discussions – especially through education!  We witness it superficially.  BUT this does increase our responsibility to consider conflict deeply if we are going to teach it without ever having experienced it!

Consider also looking at Human Rights Watch (, who also have a Children’s Rights Division

There are also books that deal with the effects of exposing children to various kinds of violence; Children Exposed to Violence, by Margaret M. Feerick and Gerald B. Silvermans (Ed.s) (Baltimore: Brookes Publishing, 2006), for example (outlined online).  Indeed, if you just do a google search on this topic, you get any number of hits (eg1, eg2, all of which add to an understanding of the topic.


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