Christians should help protect children in conflict areas, Church says

Omran Daqneesh, covered in blood and dust, sits in an ambulance awaiting help in Aleppo, Syria.(Aleppo Media Center)

A picture of a injured young boy is now going viral online, showing the boy looking dazed and confused, bloodied and covered with dust, as he sits silently in an ambulance awaiting help, another vivid reminder of the horrors of war in Syria, according to CNN.

His name is Omran Daqneesh. He was pulled from the rubble of his bombed-out home in Aleppo, one of the epicentres of conflict in the Middle Eastern country.

Even before the photo circulated online, the Vatican has already called on the United Nations and the world's governments to step up efforts to protect young children in war-torn areas.

Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, stressed how young boys and girls are suffering due to war in different parts of the world.

"Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such violent brutality: children used as soldiers, suicide bombers, sex slaves, and disposable intelligence gatherers in the most dangerous military operations," Auza said, as quoted by The Catholic News Agency.

The Roman Catholic official also urged government officials worldwide to speak out against violence involving young children during the United Nation's Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict.

"These crimes must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," he said.

The archbishop particularly appealed to world leaders to find ways to help children reintegrate with society, and to heal the wounds caused by war on their consciousness.

"A solution to the plight of children caught in armed conflict, in particular of child soldiers, requires sensitivity to finding ways to reintegrate these children back into their own communities," he said.

During the U.N. council debate, Archbishop Auza also criticised how security forces continue to bomb schools and hospitals.

"In the fight against non-State armed groups and terrorism, States are urged to ensure that their responses to all threats against peace and security are conducted in full compliance with international humanitarian law, to ensure that children are not victimised twice," he said.

He added that nations "must also build pathways for counseling and reconciliation."

"While we witness barbaric acts beyond anyone's imagination committed also by child soldiers, we must remember that these children are exploited and manipulated into what they have become," Archbishop Auza stated.