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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.1-3 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