Thousands of children in conflict-affected countries have been detained without charge for months or even years as national security threats. Untold numbers have been tortured or have died in custody. Governments should immediately stop detaining children without charge and appropriately punish those who mistreat them. 

In countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria, the authorities may have hundreds of children in detention at any given time for alleged conflict-related offenses. Many are denied access to lawyers or relatives, or the chance to challenge their detention before a judge. They are often detained under appalling conditions, and confined in overcrowded cells with adults, and with grossly inadequate food and medical care.