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Save the Children calls for an end to infant deaths in conflict zones

Syrian child refugees in Lebanon: learning how to survive on the fringes of war.
Syrian child refugees in Lebanon: learning how to survive on the fringes of war. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
7 min

Earlier today, the non-governmental organisation Save the Children published its second annual report on the impact of war on babies. Entitled Stop the War on Children, the report says that more than half a million infants died as a result of armed conflict worldwide in the five years between 2013 and 2017.


At least 550,000 babies are thought to have died as a result of armed conflict in just ten countries between 2013 and 2017.

According to the organisation Save the Children, which compiled the report, the infants succumbed to the indirect effects of war, such as hunger, damaged infrastructure, lack of hospital care, absence of sanitation, of safe drinking water. Many were the direct victims of shelling, bombing and the use of heavy weapons in civilian areas.

When you extend the age range from infants to include all those under the age of five years, the estimated figure for war-related deaths leaps to 870,000. Save the Children has calculated that, in the same period, a total of 175,000 armed fighters lost their lives.

As Eric Hazard, Save the Children Regional Advocacy Director for West and Central Africa, explains in our interview, "children have become the first victims of modern warfare."

The Stop the War on Children report includes a breakdown of United Nations' data on crimes against youngsters. According to these figures, the number of serious violations rose worldwide from just under 10,000 in 2010 to more than 25,000 in 2017, the highest number on record.

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