from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) – AT least 58 children were killed, 59 maimed and 74 raped between 2020 and 2022 as government forces and armed groups continue violating minors’ rights in South Sudan.
During the period, 457 grave violations were committed against 409 children, comprising 287 boys and 114 girls as well as eight others whose sex had not been ascertained.
The grave violations also include the recruitment of 182 children, comprising 174 boys and eight girls, as soldiers. Some 23 children were abducted.
Victims of the violations are between the ages of two and 17.
There were 11 attacks on hospitals and schools, further endangering the lives of children.
“Despite some progress, all six grave violations against children continue to be committed by all parties to conflict in South Sudan,” said Virginia Gamba, the United Nations (UN)Secretary-General’s Special Representative of the for children and armed conflict.
She said although the overall number of violations decreased, the brutality and systematicity of many incidents did not.
“ I urge all parties to the 2020 comprehensive action plan to expeditiously implement all of its provisions, including those addressing conflict-related sexual violence, and call on groups that so far have not agreed to an action plan to engage with the UN.”
According to the UN, the situation of children was particularly scary in Central Equatoria, Unity and Western Equatoria.
Most violations (45 percent) were perpetrated by armed groups. Government security forces were responsible for 35 percent.
On a positive note, 18 children were formally released. Some 11 others escaped during the above mentioned reporting period.
Gamba is advocating for the necessary financial and technical support to ensure child-sensitive reintegration and rehabilitation programmes for children formerly associated with armed forces and groups.
“I call on the international community to continue to support this endeavor, as well as our child protection capacity on the ground, as it remains crucial to achieving sustainable gains for the protection of children.”
South Sudan, the world’s newest country, descended into civil war in 2013, two years after independence. A peace deal was signed in 2018 but is intermittently violated.
– CAJ News