Loss of education
Due to the ongoing conflict many teachers have fled their posts leaving children without access to basic education. An estimated 3000 teachers have been displaced from public schools in outlying districts, affecting an estimated 100,000 students. In addition, it has been estimated that the insurgency has led to the closure of more than 700 public schools across the country. Education has been disrupted through the permanent shutting down of schools and imposed strikes in educational institutions.
Child rights abuses
School children have also been kidnapped, sometimes for forcible recruitment. Children have been actively recruited in secondary schools since 1999, targeting both male and female students between the ages of 14 –18. Children have also been caught in the crossfire and the loss of lives of young children have also occurred due to landmines, bombs and ambushes. CWIN have recorded 278 child deaths, 135 injuries and 105 children arrested by the state as of June 2003. Child abductions are also rising dramatically. There are reports of children being used as human shields, as porters to carry dead fighters, as housekeepers and cooks, and in some extreme cases, as sex slaves.
Breakdown of support networks
Many young children and pre-adolescents have been left to fend for themselves, either abandoned for their own safety by their parents who are on the run, or orphaned by the killings. Often these children have found themselves totally isolated as community protection systems, both formal and informal, have broken down.
In terms of the psychological development of the children, virtually every child in the conflict affected areas has seen a relative die in the conflict. Some have seen their teachers or classmates dragged from their classrooms and have witnessed people falling dead in front of them after being hit by police firing. CWIN reports that many of these children have become familiar with guns and other weapons as it became normal to find armed people roaming around. There are also reports that children have started to believe revenge should be taken on their enemies. As a result, some children have started showing increasingly violent behaviour, while others remain traumatized and locked up in fear and depression.