Ituri: thousands of children are living piled up together like rice in a bowl

Displaced children in Ituri

Displaced children from the Djugu Crisis at “Site 2” IDP Camp in Bunia (Photo: UNICEF DRC Oatway)

In 1990, the Democratic Republic of Congo made certain promises to children by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  What is currently taking place in Ituri Province jeopardises the fulfilment of some of these commitments.

Children: the first victims of the consequences of violence

Article 19 of the CRC gives each child the right to protection and compels states parties to take “all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of violence”.  Article 28 of the same Convention recognises the child’s right to education.

As a consequence of the unfortunate events which are taking place in Ituri, thousands of the province’s children are being deprived of these two rights.  Displaced by violence, these children are now living piled up together like rice in a bowl, they are suffering from all kinds of illnesses.  They have nowhere to go as their villages have been burned and pillaged, and the inhabitants killed.  They sleep under the stars with empty stomachs and have no help.  These children live full of sorrow, as if suffering has become their right.

It breaks my heart to see these children whose education has been halted following an event which is taking place over their heads.  They don’t even have a voice and I ask myself what blame can these children have?  Is it because children are vulnerable creatures that certain adults are able to behave this way?

NO!  Despite any differences of opinion, a child’s place is in school.  If an entire generation is prevented from attending school, we will never find a solution to all of these problems.  We, the Young Reporters of Ituri, in the name of all children displaced by violence, demand that children find their way back to school in peace and under protection.  We demand that each person act as if these were their own children.

Child protection must be strengthened in the camps, and shelters must be built.  Children must access the health care which is crucial to their survival.  All actors have to knuckle down to the task of ensuring that children resume their normal lives and return to the schoolroom.

More info about displaced children in Ituri:

Translated from French by Julia Bayton

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Ephraïm, 17 ans, est Enfant Reporter de la Province de l’Ituri. Passionné par la défense les droits de ses pair, il voudrait devenir un professeur d’Université. Pour lui, tout le monde doit se sentir concerné par de la protection de droits de l’enfant.

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