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Too soon for twilight, too late for dawn: the story of children caught in conflict - includes related articles on the UN General Assembly's stand on child-related issues, participation of children as soldiers, and recommendations for the protection of children during armed conflict - Cover story.
UN Chronicle. 1996 Winter; 33(4): p..In the last decade more than 2 million children have been killed, more than 4 million have survived physical mutilation and more than 1 million have been orphaned or separated from their families. All as a result of war. Joy unblemished as they play outside school, tumbling through the grass with friends, running under a gushing stream of water on a hot evening or down hills stung by snow. Laughter and love. These are the memories of the more innocent times evoked in the minds of many of us as we reminisce about our own childhoods. Where we had time to grow up and only slowly learn the darker ways of the world. But such memories are unimaginably distant from the reality that millions of children, caught up in the deadly games of adults, must confront. Instead, for the increasing numbers of children living in war-torn nations, childhood has become a living nightmare. A just-released United Nations study on the impact of armed conflict on children paints a truly devastating picture of untold suffering and cruelty, of a world increasingly "being sucked into a desolate moral vacuum. This is a space devoid of the most basic human values; a space in which children are slaughtered, raped and maimed; a space in which children are exploited as soldiers; a space in which children are starved and exposed to extreme brutality." The report was the outcome of a two-year investigation that included field visits to battle-scarred areas, dramatic case studies, input from eminent personalities and experts, and consultations with Governments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), armed opposition movements and children themselves. (excerpt)