The armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has disrupted the education of about 750,000 children, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has revealed.
Development Diaries reports that the UN agency made this known in a statement indicating that children have been one of the worst hit demography.
Conflict in the North Kivu Province between the March 23 Movement (M23) and the Congolese army (FARDC) recently intensified with civilians, mostly children, left vulnerable to armed violence, injuries, mass displacement, and complete loss of livelihood.
Education facilities have not been left out of the conflict as new figures from UNICEF show at least 2,100 schools in North Kivu and Ituri provinces have been forced to stop operating.
About 119 schools have been attacked, occupied or temporarily used by armed groups, while nearly 300 schools cannot operate because they are being used as shelter by people displaced by conflict.
‘School-aged children are paying an unacceptable price for the growing conflict and insecurity in eastern DRC’, UNICEF Representative, Grant Leaity, said in the statement.
‘Hundreds of thousands of children, who should be safely learning in the classroom, have instead been displaced by violence and are living in desperate conditions, and in vast and overcrowded camps’.
The majority of children living in displacement camps are not able to attend school at all, with only a minority of children able to access UNICEF-supported child-friendly spaces or temporary learning centres.
Development Diaries reiterates its call on the African Union (AU), through the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC), to ensure the full implementation of the outcomes of the February 17 East African Community (EAC) Mini-Summit and the Communiqué of the Luanda Mini-Summit of November 2022.
Photo source: UNICEF