Situation for children in South Sudan remains “grave”

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Children in Juba, South Sudan, celebrate Universal Children’s Day. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

Continued violence and the impact of brutal fighting are taking an increasingly heavy toll on the lives of children in South Sudan, according to the United Nations children's agency, UNICEF.

The agency says that since the beginning of 2015, the situation for children has worsened, with as many as 16,000 having been associated with armed forces or groups.

Nicki Chadwick has more.

With the conflict in South Sudan about to enter its third year, UNICEF has renewed its call for hostilities to cease immediately and for all sides to uphold their commitments to a peace agreement including the release of children associated with armed groups or forces.  

Christophe Boulierac, spokesperson for UNICEF, says the situation for children is grave: "Despite the signing of a peace agreement in August there is little sign of improvement.

Nearly 1,500 children have been killed; around 900,000 children have been internally displaced and there are estimates that 650,000 have fled to neighbouring countries."

 He says that grave child rights violations continue throughout the country, including killings, abductions and sexual violence.

There is sustained recruitment and use of children, primarily boys but also girls, in armed groups. 

In addition, UNICEF estimates that nearly a quarter of a million children under five years old are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which is more than twice as many as pre-conflict figures.

Meanwhile, nearly 400,000 have seen their education disrupted, with only one girl in three now having the chance of an education.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.  

Duration: 1'18"

 

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