International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression 2024

Today, 4 June 2024, the world observes the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982, this day honours the innocent children who have suffered as victims of aggression while also reaffirming the global commitment to promoting their rights and well-being.

Date 2024-06-04 Author BIK Team Section awareness Topic media literacy/education Audience research, policy and decision makers
Picture of a sad child

Background

The International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression was created in response to the tragic circumstances faced by children in conflict zones, notably in Lebanon during the early 1980s. The United Nations General Assembly was moved to recognise the suffering of these young victims and declared 4, June as a day to affirm the commitment to protect children’s rights and to promote their welfare.

Striking Data from the 2022 UN Report 

The latest UN Secretary-General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict introduces alarming statistics that underscore the urgent need to protect children in war-torn regions. Here are some of the most striking findings from 2022:

  • Over 8,630 children killed or maimed: This represents a 5 per cent increase compared to 2021. The use of explosive ordnance, including landmines and improvised explosive devices, was responsible for a significant portion of these casualties.
  • 7,622 children recruited or used in armed conflict: A staggering 85 per cent of these children were boys, highlighting the gendered nature of child recruitment. Various factors such as sex, age, disability, ethnicity, and economic status determine the risk and exploitation children face in these situations.
  • 1,166 children subjected to sexual violence: Sexual violence remains the most underreported violation due to stigma and lack of legal protection. Alarmingly, 99 per cent of these victims were girls, who are disproportionately affected by such violence and forced marriages.
  • 1,846 attacks on schools and hospitals: There was a sharp increase in attacks on educational and healthcare facilities, with a 110 per cent rise in incidents. Schools and hospitals are increasingly being used for military purposes, further endangering children.

Dr Graça Machel reflects on the children and armed conflict agenda 25 years on:

 

Children are children, first of all. As adults, it is our duty to protect them, and to create a better, more peaceful world where every one of their rights is protected and fulfilled. Anything less is unacceptable. 

Dr Graça Machel 

Better Internet for Kids for the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression 2024

Better Internet for Kids understands the need to create safer environments for children, offline and online. While the internet is a valuable tool for education and communication, it can also be a source of misinformation and exploitation. As a result, Better Internet for Kids created resources and tools to help parents, carers, teachers, and educators. 

Discover more about our work and initiatives: 

  • The Romanian Safer Internet Centre created the Safer Internet Use Guide developed within their project. It covers a wide range of topics, from preventing cyberbullying and internet risks to aspects related to well-being in the virtual environment. It provides clear information, school activity plans, and discussion topics for parent meetings, helping to solidify the content.  
  • Modern devices bring opportunities and benefits, allowing children to interact with others, learn online and be entertained. But these gains are not without risks, such as the dangers of exposure to disinformation, cyberbullying (see JRC study) or harmful and illegal content, from which children need to be sheltered. To address this issue, the European Commission adopted a new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+), to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online.

Learn more about the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression on the United Nations website, and follow #InternationalDayofInnocentChildrenVictimsofAggression on social media.   

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