Francine Uenuma 202.450.9153 (M)
Washington, D.C. (May 20, 2015) —
Save the Children is horrified and deeply saddened by
reports of the killing, maiming, rape and abduction of children in Unity State,
South Sudan, in the last two weeks. We are particularly disturbed by the
deliberate targeting of children by armed groups, the on-going recruitment of
children into these armed groups, and the continued reports of the rape of
children by armed groups.
These acts constitute grave violations against children
under UN Security Resolution 1612 and Save the Children calls upon all parties
to the conflict to ensure the protection of civilians, including children, and
to uphold all principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child, which was ratified in South Sudan less than two weeks ago.
Save the Children joins UNICEF in calling for an urgent
investigation into these atrocities to ensure those responsible are held
accountable, and for full and unhindered access for humanitarian workers into
affected areas to reach children who have been cut-off by recent conflict.
Witness reports from survivors confirm that girls as young
as seven-years-old were raped and killed, and that boys aged as young as 10
were forcibly recruited to join the fighting. Further reports suggest that
children were also the perpetrators of violence - armed boys in military and
civilian clothing were involved in attacks, including the killing of civilians.
Owing to ongoing conflict in Unity State, two
NGO partners have been forced to withdraw their teams from field sites
where they were giving crucial support to 875 unaccompanied and separated
children whom we are no longer able to reach.
More than 13,000 children have been recruited into armed
groups on both sides of this conflict and Save the Children continues to call
on all armed groups for their immediate and unconditional release.
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