Silencing guns in African could reduce infant mortality rate by more than 50 per cent, with research showing that armed conflicts not only deny children access to quality healthcare, but also subjects them to other forms of suffering.
With the help of National Human Rights Institutions – under the umbrella of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions – themes like conflict resolution and peace building are alternatives to the combats.
State struggles to combat rebels in armed conflicts are not only eating into the economy of the content, but also derailing sustainable development.
Perennial protracted civil wars and other forms of armed conflicts in Africa and other parts of the world have contributed to separation of the children from their families, with more others being denied the right to education after recruitment as soldiers for the warring factions.
Besides, as they run away to safe areas, other rights such as access to safe food, water and sanitation are put at stake, situations that reduce their survival.
The Continental study on the impact of conflict and crises on children in African, 2017, says conflict in Africa account for a 50 per cent surge in infant deaths and 15 per cent increase in undernutrition.
In times of conflict, there are 2.5 times fewer doctors per capita than on peacetime, the report says.
“Children are 24 times more likely to die during armed conflict due to illness and injury than in peacetime. In conflict situations, girls in particular face increased threats of trafficking, exploitation and sexual and gender-based violence,” the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child report says.
Armed conflicts involving children directly as solders or other dehumanizing forms is against international laws.
It also guards against the use of children in armed conflicts as well as their sale, involvement in prostitution, and pornography.
The African Union has set up a goal of “silencing the gun by 2020” as one of the ways of spurring socio-economic growth towards Africa’ Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.