Iraqi children ride on a donkey cart in Baghdad, as they celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday in August 2012
Iraqi children ride on a donkey cart in Baghdad, as they celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in August 2012. More than five million children in Iraq are deprived of "basic rights," the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday, calling for urgent action. © Ahmad al-Rubaye - AFP/File
Iraqi children ride on a donkey cart in Baghdad, as they celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday in August 2012
AFP
Last updated: November 20, 2012

5.3 million Iraqi children deprived of basic rights, says UN

More than five million children in Iraq are deprived of "basic rights," the United Nations said in a statement on Tuesday, calling for urgent action.

"One in every third child in Iraq, 5.3 million children, is still currently deprived of many of their fundamental rights," it quoted Marzio Babille, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Iraq representative, as saying.

"UNICEF calls on all stakeholders -- in government, civil society, the private sector and the international community -- to urgently invest in these children to respect their dignity and give them an equal chance to become healthy, productive young citizens of the new Iraq," Babille said.

Violations of children's rights in Iraq include inadequate access to and promotion of health services, lack of access to quality education, violence in schools and families, and psychological trauma from years of bloody unrest, the statement said.

Iraqis faced decades of war and sanctions under dictator Saddam Hussein, and bloody sectarian violence in the years following his overthrow in a 2003 US-led invasion.

And basic services, especially for vulnerable populations including widows, children and people displaced by violence, remain starkly lacking.

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