The lives of millions of Iraqi children are blighted by violence, poor nutrition and disrupted education more than four years after the US-led invasion, UNICEF said in a report released on Friday.
The report said that few teenagers took their final exams last summer, safe drinking water remained scarce and at least 1,350 children were detained by the authorities in 2007.
AdvertisementOn average 25,000 children and their families were forced from their homes each month to seek shelter in other parts of the country because of continuing sectarian and insurgency violence.
"Iraqi children are paying far too high a price," said Roger Wright, UNICEF's special representative for Iraq, in the report.
"A new window of opportunity is opening, which should enable us to reach the most vulnerable with expanded, consistent support."
The United Nations Children's Fund said the current reduction in violence must be used to help Iraq's children, to gain access to detained children and to strengthen government structures focused on young people.
It said its research showed that only 28 percent of 17-year-olds sat their school leaving exams this year, and that in south and central Iraq just 40 percent achieved a pass grade.
The number of primary school age children not in education in 2006 was 760,000, but this figure has grown over the past year as more displaced children had their schooling disrupted, the report added.
At the end of 2007 about 75,000 Iraqi children lived in camps or temporary shelters -- a quarter forced out of their homes since the bombing in February 2006 of a Shiite shrine at Samarra triggered savage sectarian violence.
UNICEF also said in the report that it had funded the immunisation of more than four million children against polio and three million against measles, and had provided aid for 4.7 million primary school children.
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