A new United Nations report says more than 8,000 children were killed or injured in armed conflicts throughout the world last year, a number that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called "unacceptable."
The UN said in a statement that its annual Children and Armed Conflict report, presented to the UN Security Council on October 5, found that Afghanistan had the highest number of verified child casualties since the 192-nation body began documenting civilian casualties in 2009.
The report said that 3,512 children in Afghanistan were killed or maimed in 2016, up 24 percent from the previous year. In Syria the figure was 1,299, and in Yemen it was 1,340.
The report also found that hundreds of children were victims of sexual violence, targeted in attacks on schools, or recruited as soldiers.
The report included a blacklist of organizations deemed responsible for abuses against children, including groups based in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government in its conflict against Huthi rebels was also included in the list for the first time.
Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year removed Saudi Arabia from the list following pressure from Riyadh. Human Rights Watch said Guterres did "the right thing" by adding the coalition to the list.
With reporting by AP and AFP