UNICEF deeply concerned at impact on children of recent fighting in Southern Sudan
GENEVA, UNICEF is deeply concerned at the impact on children of continuing violence and localized conflict in a number of states of Southern Sudan. UNICEF calls on those groups involved in fighting in Southern Sudan to show immediate restraint and ensure the full protection of children, those who care for them, and the services on which they depend for their survival and development - in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Sudan is a signatory.
Since the start of 2009, thousands of children are estimated to have been displaced from their homes due to attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central and Western Equatoria, while repeated clashes between tribal groups in Jonglei, Lakes and Warrap States are believed to have resulted in the death and abduction of children. In Pibor Country of Jonglei State, more than 140 children have been reportedly abducted, while children are feared to be amongst the 450 people believed killed in Pibor and the 170 people killed in Akobo County.
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, progress in primary education and health care has been a positive example of the valuable peace dividends benefiting the children of Southern Sudan. These gains are being jeopardized by the current level of violence.
Schools in areas affected by fighting in Jonglei State have been prevented from opening since the start of the new school year on 1 April, while parents in Lakes State have stopped sending children to local schools due to fears for their safety. Vaccinators working to tackle polio outbreaks in Southern Sudan have not been able to carry out their work in at least five communities now being affected by violence.
The recently passed Child Act in Southern Sudan offers a framework for the Government of Southern Sudan to create an environment in which children are protected from the harmful effects of violence. UNICEF urges all parties to ensure that such protection is afforded to all children in Southern Sudan
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
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