South Sudan: Slow Progress for Conflict-Affected Children as Humanitarian, Security Situations Remain Dire

New Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in South Sudan
© UNICEF/UN0540644/Obel

Children in South Sudan remained highly vulnerable to grave violations, and despite some progress and an overall decrease in grave violations compared to the last reporting period, the continuing clashes between armed forces and armed groups, and escalating intercommunal violence left a dramatic toll on children, highlights a new Report of the UN Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in South Sudan released today.

Overall, 457 grave violations were committed against children between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2022, with the recruitment and use of 182 children remaining the most verified grave violation, followed by killing and maiming, and rape and other forms of sexual violence, which showed a sharp increase in the first half of 2022.

“Despite some progress, all six grave violations against children continue to be committed by all parties to conflict in South Sudan. Even though 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 United Nations,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, Virginia Gamba.

She further calls on all parties to ensure the full implementation of the peace agreement, including its provisions on the protection of children.

The situation of children was particularly dreading in Unity, Central Equatoria and Western Equatoria. Most violations (45%) were perpetrated by armed groups, but the Government security forces were responsible for at least one in three grave violations (35%). Explosive remnants of war remained the leading cause of killing and maiming of children. Continued and strengthened demining efforts therefore remain crucial. (...)  More