[Children witness a man being interrogated by a member of the Iraqi army (File photo)]
Baghdad: Children caught in the crossfire of the brutal battle for Mosul have seen things that no one, of any age, should ever see, Amnesty International confirmed in a report on Thursday.
"I met children who have not only sustained horrific wounds but have also seen their relatives and neighbors decapitated in mortar strikes, torn to shreds by car bombs or mine explosions, or crushed under the rubble of their homes,” said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Adviser, who returned from a 17-day mission to northern Iraq.
“War-wounded children then find themselves in hospitals overflowing with patients, or in camps for displaced people, where dire humanitarian conditions make their physical and psychological recovery even more difficult. Many others remain trapped in areas where the fighting is raging," she added.
The report confirmed that beyond the physical wounds they suffer, children are left scarred and deeply traumatized by the extreme violence they have experienced and witnessed. Out of the thousands of children who have been exposed to sustained violence, only a fraction have access to the psychological care and support they desperately need.
It added that the international community must prioritize the resourcing of a robust child protection response, including comprehensive mental health support for those who have been exposed to extreme violence, as part of the humanitarian response to the Iraq crisis.