U.S. ‘Freedom’ For Iraq Devours The Lives Of 15 Million Children

Soldier and Iraqi Children | Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons


‘In the 1970s, Iraq was one of the best countries in the Middle East and North Africa to be a child, but due to decades of war and neglect, it has become one of the worst,says Kadhum Al-Sahir, UNICEF ambassador to Iraq.

Referring unofficially to the consequences of the US-led invasion and military occupation in 2003, called ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, Al Shair said that  ‘Iraq’s children have endured incredible hardship over the last couple of decades, with hundreds of thousands suffering from the brutal effects of violence and inhumane deprivation.’

The UNICEF ambassador to Iraq mentioned some of the major issues facing Iraq’s 15 million children: 

  • Each year, around 35,000 infants die before reaching their first birthday,
  • Over 1.5 million children under the age of five are undernourished,
  • Around 700,000 children are not enrolled in primary school, while hundreds of thousands more drop out before graduating,
  • 2,5 million children do not have access to safe water,
  • 3.5 million children lack adequate sanitation facilities,
  • Some 800,000 children between the ages of 5 and 14 are working.

‘Urgent action is needed to provide opportunities that the most deprived children across Iraq deserve and have the right to have,’ said Al-Sahir.

‘By creating the opportunities needed for these children to be able to grow up healthy and realise their full potential, Iraq will once again be on the path to be one of the best countries in the region to be a child, which will accelerate a future that is stable and prosperous for all,’ he hoped.

UNICEF is currently concluding its fourth Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey in Iraq to help identify the country’s most disadvantaged children and families.

When survey results are finalised at the end of this year, Al-Sahir is expected to announce the findings and call for investments in the services needed by those children who have been left behind.

Kadhum Al-Sahir, Iraqi singer acclaimed worldwide as one of the great artists of contemporary Arabic music, was appointed as the first-ever UNICEF Iraq Ambassador.

Returning to Iraq for the first time in 14 years, Mr. Al-Sahir highlighted the need to focus on equity for Iraq’s most deprived children.

Related http://www.unicef.org

2011 Human Wrongs Watch

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