Lebanon crisis exposing 1 million children to violence: United Nations

Lebanon crisis exposing 1 million children to violence: United Nations
Half of all children in the country are at risk of physical, emotional or sexual violence, according to the UN's Children's Fund.
2 min read
17 December, 2021
The crisis is also wreaking damage on children's mental health, according to UNICEF [Getty]

Lebanon's spiralling economic crisis is causing abuse against children to soar and is putting one child out of two at risk of violence, the United Nations said on Friday.

"One in two children in Lebanon is at serious risk of physical, emotional, or sexual violence, as families struggle to cope in the country's deepening crisis," the UN Children's Fund said.

A new report released by UNICEF showed that the number of cases of child abuse and exploitation handled by the agency and its partners shot up by 44 percent over the past year.

Children as young as six are working on farms and families seeking dowries are marrying off young girls.

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The crisis has also led to a surge in domestic violence against women and girls, UNICEF said, adding that the crisis was also wreaking damage on children's mental health.

The report said new threats against children were appearing such as "destitute families abandoning babies in the streets and children facing increased risk of abduction".

"With stress simmering at home, a lack of regular school routine during Covid-19 lockdowns and a decline in social services, at least one million children in Lebanon are at risk of direct violence," it said.

Lebanon defaulted on its debt last year as a result of financial mismanagement and corruption, yet successive governments have not enacted significant reforms to rescue the country.

The local currency lost 90 percent of its value in two years and four out five Lebanese are living under the UN's poverty threshold.