Iraq: Children and School Targeted in New Attack

The Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, October 6, 2013

New York, 7 October 2013 – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, strongly condemns the attack that took place yesterday morning in an elementary school in a village of Mosul Province, Iraq. A suicide bomber detonated a truck filled with explosives on the school playground, killing more than ten children and injuring dozens more.

“Deliberately killing or injuring young children at their school is appalling,” declared Leila Zerrougui. “This is a grave violation of children’s rights and I remind everyone that schools are and must remain safe havens.”

The surge of violence in Iraq spares no one and no place. In the past few weeks and months, children have been killed or injured by attacks targeting civilians. Schools, as well as recreational areas where children gather to play, have been targeted.

“I call on political, religious and civil leaders to come together to find a solution to this surge of violence that is deeply affecting children,” said the Special Representative. “It is our collective duty to protect children as well as their places of learning.”

A Mandate to Monitor and Report on Attacks on Schools

The Security Council, in Resolution 1998, gave the Office of the Special Representative and the United Nations a mandate to monitor attacks on schools, to name and shame armed groups and armed forces that do so and to engage in dialogue with them to protect schools.

In Iraq, the Special Representative works with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, UNICEF and other partners to monitor and report on grave child rights violations, including attacks on schools.

The armed group Islamic State of Iraq/ Al-Qaeda in Iraq is listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict for recruitment and use, killing and maiming of children as well as attacks on schools and hospitals.