Syria children used as 'human shields': UN

2012-06-12 09:16
Eleven-year-old Ali el-Sayed, a survivor of the Houla massacre that left more than 100 people dead, many of them children and women. (File photo, AP)

Eleven-year-old Ali el-Sayed, a survivor of the Houla massacre that left more than 100 people dead, many of them children and women. (File photo, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

New York - Syrian troops have tortured children, executed them and used children as young as eight as "human shields" during military raids against rebels, according to a UN report released on Tuesday.

The United Nations branded the Syrian government as one of the worst offenders on its annual "list of shame" of conflict countries where children are killed, tortured and forced to fight.

Human rights groups estimate that about 1 200 children have died during the 15-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, whose brutal crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired protests has been widely condemned.

"Rarely, have I seen such brutality against children as in Syria, where girls and boys are detained, tortured, executed, and used as human shields," Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN special representative for children in armed conflict, said ahead of the report's release.

Government forces rounded up dozens of boys aged eight to 13 before an attack on the village of Ayn l'Arouz in Idlib province on 9 March, the report said.

The children were "used by soldiers and militia members as human shields, placing them in front of the windows of buses carrying military personnel into the raid on the village", it said.

'Grave violations'

Quoting witnesses, the UN report said Syrian military and intelligence forces, as well as pro-government Shabiha militiamen, surrounded the village for an attack that lasted more than four days.

Among the 11 dead on the first day were three boys aged 15 to 17. Another 34 people, including two boys aged 14 and 16 and a 9-year-old girl, were detained.

"Eventually, the village was reportedly left burned and four out of the 34 detainees were shot and burned, including the two boys aged 14 and 16 years," the Children in Armed Conflict report said.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the report had uncovered one of many "grave violations" against children.

The Syrian government, and its allied militias, was one of four new parties added to the UN's list of shame - along with organisations and political parties in Sudan and Yemen.

The list includes 52 parties in 11 countries, ranging from the Afghan national police and the anti-US Haqqani network to the Lord's Resistance Army in central Africa, Sudanese armed forces and various Darfur rebel groups.

The report said children in Syria as young as nine had been victims of killing and maiming, arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment, including sexual violence and use as human shields.

Arms embargo

Schools have been regularly raided and used as military bases and detention centres, the report said.

The report was completed before the Houla massacre on 25 May, when 49 of the 108 victims were said to be children, some as young as two and three, who were shot in the head or had their skulls smashed with blunt instruments.

"Most child victims of torture described being beaten, blindfolded, subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, scarred by cigarette burns and, in one recorded case, subjected to electrical shock to the genitals," said the UN report.

At least one witness told investigators he had seen a boy of approximately 15 succumb to repeated beatings.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the UN Security Council should impose an arms embargo and other sanctions on the Assad government over its violations against children.

HRW quoted the Syria Violations Documentation Centre, a network of Syrian activists, as saying that at least 1 176 children have been killed since February 2011.

It also said there were "credible allegations" that armed opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are recruiting children as soldiers.

Read more on:    un  |  bashar al-assad  |  ban ki-moon  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  child abuse  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
28 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Be open, network and share your intentions and ideas as these may be the vital seeds to the imminent change that can be starting...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.