These 10 Countries in Conflict Are the Worst Places to Be a Child

Did you know: 415 million children worldwide are right now living in war zones and areas of conflict? That’s almost 18% – or 1 in 6 – of all the world’s children according to Save the children.

The number of conflicts around the world has more than doubled in the last twenty-five years. Affected children live in constant fear, experiencing grave violations of their rights, their childhoods stolen. And countless children have grown up knowing nothing but war and conflict.

The impact of conflict on children varies by age, gender, status, ethnicity, religion and disability. However, the trauma from conflict and war is toxic to all children’s psychosocial and physical development. Children who live in conflict zones are at the highest risk of experiencing violence, psychological stress, hunger, loss of education, and lacking basic resources.

In Save the children 2020 report, Stop the War on Children: Gender Matters, we identify the 10 worst conflict-affected countries to be a child:

1. Afghanistan

2. Central African Republic

3. Democratic Republic of the Congo

4. Iraq

5. Mali

6. Nigeria

7. Somalia

8. South Sudan

9. Syria

10. Yemen

The ranking was based on the following data from the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the United Nations:

The UN-verified grave violations against children:

killing and injuring of children

recruitment and use of children by armed forces or armed groups

abduction of children

attacks on schools or hospitals

refusal or lack of humanitarian support, like access to basic health care

rape and other forms of sexual violence

The scale of conflict intensity in a country by the number of documented causalities

The total number and ratio of children living in areas of conflict

The ongoing conflict in Syria is dangerous and damaging for children due to a staggering amount of grave violations against children. 99% of Syrian children are living in areas affected by conflict.

Among the conflict zones in the world, Afghanistan has the most children who have been killed and maimed. While the highest number of children in conflict suffering sexual violence is in Somalia, Nigeria has the highest number of children fighting in war and recruited into arm groups.