19:55 GMT11 April 2021
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    Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, urged the Iraqi government to take robust action to stop the recruitment and use of children by all parties in the current armed conflict and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — Close to 1,400 boys and girls were abducted by Islamist militants in Iraq over the past four years, with hundreds more killed and maimed in ongoing hostilities, a UN children’s rights envoy said Wednesday.

    Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a statement that militants from Islamic State (ISIL, or Daesh in the Arab world) – a terror group outlawed in many countries, including Russia – used kidnapped children as soldiers and sex slaves.

    The UN documented more than 3,000 child casualties between January, 1 2011 and June, 30 2015, the envoy said, adding that attacks by ISIL and al-Qaeda accounted for over a half of those casualties.

    Since the start of international involvement in Iraq in 2014, the UN began to receive worrisome reports of children being maimed and killed in airstrikes and shelling, Zerrougui’s statement continued.

    She said the UN was following with extreme concern reports of emerging "youth wings" of the ISIL militant group and centers training child soldiers in Iraq and Syria.

    Zerrougui urged the Iraqi government to take robust action to stop the recruitment and use of children by all parties in the current armed conflict and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.

    She warned Iraqi authorities against detaining children on security charges, stressing they must be treated as victims of war.


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