Statement attributable to Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Iraq on the children of Mosul
ERBIL, 4 November 2016 – “An estimated 2,500 children and their families have arrived in the past 24 hours at camps south east of Mosul as Iraqi forces today for the first time entered the city streets and intensified their battle to retake Mosul.
“Last night and today we have seen the single largest displacement of people since the start of the 17 October military operation. UNICEF estimates that more than 2,500 children, including children with physical disabilities, are among the roughly 5,200 people who arrived at camps in the past 24 hours.
“One mother of five who fled from Gogjali on the edges of Mosul said she was happy that they had arrived safely, but said her children were scared and traumatized by what they had been through. Another described how they had fled with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.
“As the violence continues to escalate we are concerned over the protection of children as violence likely to escalate further. UNICEF calls on all parties to the conflict to protect children inside Mosul.
“We are especially concerned over reports that children and women are being used as human shields and call on all parties to respect the rights of women and children, who are paying a heavy price for a conflict not of their making.”