Children as targets

These days we are remembering the 186 children and 17 teachers that were killed in the terrorist attack on the school number 1 in Beslan in Russia.

From 1 to 3 September 2004, over 1,100 people were held hostage by terrorist groups from the North Caucasus. The siege of the school happened on the background of the past two bloody wars in Chechnya and several terrorist attacks, which occurred in the first part of 2004. The main demand of the terrorists was the withdrawal of Russian military forces from Chechnya. The Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who covered the situation in Chechnya, was on her way to Beslan on September 1, but was poisoned on the plane.

Despite the opportunities for negotiations, the Russian authorities decided to storm the school, using heavy military weapons, as flame throwers and tanks. Among the 334 victims there were 186 children and 17 teachers. 18 years later this military operation has still not been properly investigated, or the responsible of the deaths brought to justice. Anna Politkovskaya was killed in 2006, and the forces who ordered her murder have never been identified.

Innocent children continue to be victims of Russian aggression. Since the Russian invation of Ukraine started on February 24 this year, 377 children have been killed, and 733 are wounded. In Russia, in the midst of the ongoing war, millions of children started the school year on September 1. This year, an introductory course “Conversation about the most important” will be introduced in Russian schools, where in line with the state narrative about “patriotism”, the children will be encouraged to sacrifice their lives for the sake of the homeland.

– Human life has never been fully valued by the Russian regime. On the contrary, even children are victims of the continuous militarisation of the Russian society. Children become soldiers and are targets in military operations and propaganda wars. We must do our best to stop this vicious cycle of impunity, so that children can have hope for a better future, says Berit Lindeman, the SG of the NHC.

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Berit Lindeman

Secretary GeneralEmail: [email protected]Phone: 909 33 379Twitter: @LindemanBerit
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Inna Sangadzhieva

Acting Policy DirectorEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 94 58
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Dag A. Fedøy

Director of CommunicationsEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 920 54 309Twitter: @dagfedoy
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