Four children killed by explosive ordnance in Iraq
Statement by Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq
BAGHDAD, 2 February 2022. – “Four children have died - three boys and one girl - and two children have been maimed over the last week, as a result of incidents related to explosive ordnances in two locations in Iraq. UNICEF expresses its deep sorrow and condolences to the children’s families, friends, and communities.
“Tragically, as reported in a UNICEF statement last August, this is not an isolated loss of children’s lives. In 2021, 52 children were killed and 73 were maimed by explosive remnants of war (ERW) and unexploded ordnance. Stronger concerted efforts are needed to reduce the increasing impact of these explosives, especially on boys, as the number of children casualties grew 67 per cent compared to 2020 (79 children for that year, including 61 boys.)
“These events occurred in Babel province and Baghdad and happened while children were doing daily chores, such as collecting wood. UNICEF reminds all stakeholders that the need to uphold child safety must remain the primary consideration in all contexts. ERW continues to be a primary reason for civilian casualties, with children being especially vulnerable – their smaller size makes them more likely to receive the full impact of the blast, making it even more lethal.
“UNICEF continues to work on providing victim assistance, provide referral services to medical treatment and psychosocial support when needed.
“UNICEF urges all parties to accelerate every effort to clear existing mines and unexploded ordnance and promote victim assistance, and to uphold children’s right to a safe and protective environment.
“UNICEF also urges the Government of Iraq and the donor community to support the scale-up and provision of Explosive Ordnance Risk Education activities so that children and other community members receive explosive ordnance risk education in schools and communities in all areas previously affected by conflict in Iraq.”