Syria children used as 'human shields': UN

2012-06-12 09:16

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.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-12 09:35

    And nobody stops this assad DOG to murder anyone, who is in his way, including women and children !!!

      Sharon - 2012-06-12 18:01

      much like rwanda

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-06-12 09:38

    I informed you thusly .... When even children are targets one cannot expect them not to pick up arms in defence especially with the monumental failure of international efforts . This is going to be a long protracted conflict of horror .

  • Lee - 2012-06-12 09:47

    I just can't take reading the news anymore.... What kind of human being wouldn't want to protect a child. I can't understand what it takes to breed a person that is so concerned with self preservation that they wouldn't put their life on the line to protect a child. I don't care what the circumstances, what you are fighting for.... A child was born innocent and we need to try and preserve that for as long as possible.

  • nisar.tiseker - 2012-06-12 10:15

    Rediculous that the world community and the UN are doing nothing to oust the dictator - One cannot be choosy with world conflicts where civilians are affected most - Suppose Syria does not have Oil as Irag, Iran and Afghanistan have :-&

      Deon - 2012-06-12 12:31

      China and Russia used theire veto rights on numerous times to stop any military action by the UN. Shame on them.

  • Langa - 2012-06-12 11:08

    Its a lie. No government troop will do that. It can only be done by mentally sick people just like the alqaueda syrian rebels

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-12 12:11

      No government will do that.....except the Syrian Terrorist Army headed by assad ! Or do you think EVERYBODY is lying; Ban-Ki moon ?? Koffi Annan ?? UN observers in Syria ?? Human Rights Watch ?? Reporters on the ground ?? Resident eye witnesses ?? ALL LYING ????????????????

      jaba.kov - 2012-06-12 13:45

      100% Anthony! And you forgot the most important one - The Arab League themselves…

      Sharon - 2012-06-12 20:56

      you blacks still dont believe there was genocide in rwanda and mugabe murdered thousands of matebele,this i can see by your ignorant comments here

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-26 00:26

      Unfortunayely governments throughout history have been the biggest perpetrators of harm to children. Stalin. Mao Tse Tung. Adolf Hitler. And now Assad, although I don't think Assad is intentionally going out to harm children to the extent that these former "leaders" did. He's doing it nonetheless in his cold-blooded attempt to hold onto power. The point will come, I think, where enough Aluwites will realize they're harming their own futures by standing behind Assad. This will probably be pressure from the new generation Aluwites. Then Assad will fall. And unfortunately hard. Regarding your point about the "Al-Quaida Syria Rebels", Jihadists make up about ten percent of this fighting to remove Assad. They are to Syria what the PAC and Communist Party were to South Africa leading up to 1994.

  • Jaba - 2012-06-12 11:37

    Human Shields is to the Arab world as football is to the West. Disgusting, barbaric and backwards.

  • boom.baracus - 2012-06-12 15:10

    Where is Fidel?

      Mike - 2012-06-12 16:58

      Probably flown there to assist in the demise of the civilian population.

      boom.baracus - 2012-06-12 17:41

      Daniel: IT would be funny if it wasn't sad...

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-12 17:35

    Reading this article again and again, it really brings tears to my eyes. This level of cruelty is so unbelievable, but thank God it is rare ( outside of Syria )! Even if EVERYTHING is true which assad supporters claim of the oppostion, and only 10 % was true of what is said about assad, he would still be a MONSTER, guilty of CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. But every right thinking person, knows by now, what this assad is capable off. His TANKS, AIRPLANES and GUNSHIP HELICOPTERS , give him away. The West should no longer wait for Putin to show some leadership, they should -----------ACT NOW---------------- !!

      jans.opresser - 2012-06-12 21:10

      Putin IS showing leadership by threatening any nations that attacks syria! he along with china are doing the right thing in syria,while you and the UN countries post one propoganda based lie after another. just last week in Libya,the al-qeada terrorist there bombed the US EMBASSY,attacked the british embassy with RPG's and attacked a british convoy killing one brit. and just two days ago,the al-qaeda rebels from the libyan TNC arrested a LAWYER FROM THE ICC,and charged her with SPYING!!they claim that she was passing along documents from Siaf Gadaffi. the ungratefull terrorist are giving the finger to all who has helped them over throw gadaffi just to put them into power. not even you anthony can attempt to debate or refute those facts!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-13 04:45

      Jans.opresser After 40 years of tyranny in Libya by this gaddafi terrorist, there are still plenty problems. But not even you can deny, the amazing progress that has been made. Two million Libyans have now registered to go to the polls in a few weeks time, , most of them voting for the first time in their lives, who THEY want to be governed by. And it is no longer going to be a corrupt and violent family!! And no one will take that joy and excitement away from the Libyans !!

  • jans.opresser - 2012-06-12 21:02

    all of you people getting all worked up over a western propoganda based story need to become smarter. have you people not noticed the "one sided reporting" by the so called UN and their western media spin machines? they print no truths about the atrocities that the al-qaeda rebels ahave comitted in syria,yet they will print any lie that they want to claim about Assad. just last week it was proven that CNN and the BBC were showing pictures from IRAQ,that they along with the UN,british govt and american govt were claiming was PROOF of a massacre at Houla.they only retracted the story after the photogropher who actually took the original picture came forth and exposed them. and just two weeks ago,al-qaeda rebel SUICIDE BOMBERS killed over 50 civillians when they used terrorist bombers to blow up govt installations in damascus,what did nato,the UN,america and england say then? NOTHING! shame on any of you who calls for Assad to be overthrown so that syria can become another Libyan failed state overrun with al-qaeda terrorist!

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