International day for innocent children victim of aggression

Written BY: M A Malik

Wars and conflicts are the most painful reality of the life on the planet earth. Human history is replete with such cataclysmic events and upheavals which have consumed millions of lives and piled misery on the survivors. Women and children are the most vulnerable segments of the population, particularly the latter who have to bear the brunt of such circumstances.

It is in recognition of this regrettable reality that the people across the globe feel concerned about the plight of the innocent children becoming victims of aggression and through private and public initiatives are striving to sensitise the world community about sufferings of the children and the need for protecting them from the ravages of wars and conflicts.

The United Nations took cognisance of this distressing situation in 1982 and decided to commemorate June 4 of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes the universal master plan to secure a better future for children by ending all forms of violence against them, and shielding them against abuse, neglect, and exploitation and other violence-related situations. The UN also adopted a convention on the rights of children.

Apart from UN, International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression is also celebrated by millions of individuals and organisations working to protect and preserve the rights of children. For example, the Global Movement for Children, with leadership from Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, is an inspiring force for change that involves ordinary people and families worldwide.

It is estimated that millions of children have been killed in different wars and conflicts around the globe. Indian occupied Kashmir is the new area of conflict where nearly eight million people are under siege since 5th of August 2019 and the Indian forces are on a killing spree. The News York Times in a latest report described the situation in IOK in these words, “Eight months after India revoked Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and brought the region fully under its authority, doctors here say a state of hopelessness has morphed into a severe psychological crisis. Mental health workers say Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in instances of depression, anxiety and psychotic events. Local medical professionals say they are seeing a rise in suicides and an increase in already disturbingly high rates of domestic abuse in the disturbed area. Doctors and researchers say the occupied valley, with its majority-Muslim population fighting for its independence, has few resources to cope. Before the events of recent months, decades of violence unleashed by Indian security forces on the Kashmiri people had taken its physical and mental toll. Doctors without Borders estimated after surveying 5,600 households reveal that nine out of 10 have experienced conflict-related traumas.

Thousands of civilians have been arrested or detained by order of the Indian government after it moved forcefully to cement its control over IOJK. Police have blocked roads and streets with coils of glistening concertina wire and if the residents try to get out of their homes they are abused and beaten up. The clampdown has disrupted daily life, with many people feeling besieged and afraid to leave their homes. Years of strife has left a generation traumatised. Now the battle against the corona virus has further isolated and scarred a people with little access to help. A psychiatrist appointed by the government, Dr. Majid Shafi recalled that he had seen 100 patients a week last year. Now, he sees more than 500.

The report gives an insight into the overall plight of the people of IOK. According to reliable sources children continue to be blinded by the pallet guns besides enduring physical, mental and emotional torture in IOK. More than 13000 children reportedly have been kidnapped since 5th of August 2019.

Sensitising the world community on the sufferings of the innocent children victims of aggression and observing international day in this regard do have significance of their own in building moral pressure on the nations and entities responsible for such actions but the phenomenon cannot be stopped merely by exhortations. It needs effective intervention by the UN in resolving conflicts and disputes that lead to such situations. Kashmir surely needs immediate intervention by the UN.

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