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August 2, 2006

War and Children

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics, Hadassah-Hebrew University Hospital—Mount Scopus Campus, Hebrew University School of Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel.

JAMA. 2006;296(5):579-581. doi:10.1001/jama.296.5.579

Children ensure the survival of society. Adults are entrusted with their well-being, including the daunting challenge of protecting children against the violence of war. War continues to evolve in response to geopolitical transformations with large-scale wars being replaced by regional conflicts and international terrorism. Modern versions of war disproportionately affect civilian populations including children.13 According to the United Nations Children's Fund, the proportion of civilian casualties of war has increased from 5% to 90% during the past 2 decades, with children accounting for at least one half of the casualties,1,4 and more than 1.5 million children have died as a result of violence between the years 1990-2003.4 During the violent civil war in Rwanda, 300 000 children were brutally killed over a 90-day period.4 Similar catastrophic situations are found today in the Darfur region of Sudan and the Congo.5

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