'Videogame' violence shows children get little aid in war zones

Last year was one of the worst in history for the world's children, with some 15 million in violent conflicts

Reuters July 22, 2015

LONDON: A fictional video of a young girl being shot by militants and watching the execution of her father before collapsing in shock aims to raise awareness of the small proportion of humanitarian funding spent on protecting children in war zones.

The video "Duty of Care", made in the style of a first-person shooter videogame and taking the viewer around a Middle East conflict zone through the eyes of nine-year-old Nima, was launched on Wednesday by the charity War Child as part of its HELP campaign.

While children account for more than half the population in war zones, less than three percent of humanitarian funding is spent on their protection, according to the charity, which helps children affected by conflicts and war around the world.

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The charity launched its campaign ahead of next year's inaugural World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, which will bring together governments, aid groups and people affected by crises to set an agenda for future humanitarian action.

"In humanitarian emergencies, tangible forms of aid take precedence over protection and education, which are chronically underfunded," War Child UK's CEO Rob Williams said.

"The truth is, whilst food, water and shelter are daily necessities, they do not keep a child in war safe from harm," Williams said in a statement as the campaign was launched.

In 13 countries monitored by the UN Security Council since 2010 because of grave rights violations against children during armed conflict, 29 per cent of humanitarian aid was spent on food, 11 per cent on health and just three percent on protection of people, according to UN statistics compiled by War Child.

The proportion of aid spent on protecting children in war zones was in fact less than three percent as that figure includes spending on human rights, rule of law and preventing sexual violence and female genital mutilation, War Child said.

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Last year was one of the worst in history for the world's children, with some 15 million caught up in violent conflicts in the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and Ukraine, the U.N. children's agency said.

An estimated 230 million children live in countries and areas torn by armed conflicts, according to UNICEF.