Thousands of children are being exploited by both sides in violent clashes since the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi last month.
In one of the most shocking cases, hundreds of children, some as young as six years old, were herded into a march dressed in death shrouds, carrying coffins, and calling for the former leader’s reinstatement.
“We’re following how children are being exploited in the violent confrontations with deep concern,” says Mac Abbey, the Country Director of Plan Egypt.
“Exposing children to demonstrations and protests puts their safety at stake and clearly violates their right to protection granted and observed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Egyptian Child Law.”
“One of Plan’s partners working with street children was offered funds to send children to a demonstration area. The partner refused and reported the offer to the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood,” says Mr. Abbey.
Children caught up in the protests risk serious injury or death, as initially peaceful demonstrations turn violent.
“If there are clashes and both sides start throwing stones at each other, children are more likely to be the most badly affected,” says Mr. Abbey. “The situation gets worse when weapons are used.”
Child protection specialists at Plan are also concerned that children witnessing the confrontation may be emotionally and psychologically harmed. This is also true for children at home, who have seen the unfiltered television reports.
Mr. Abbey says Plan is working with government and civil society organizations to find an effective mechanism of ensuring children’s safety and protection.
“We’re calling on parents to fulfill their duty towards their children by keeping them safe and protected from all forms of abuse and potential risk,” he adds.
Information for Sponsors
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