Statement From Save the Children On The Violence In South Sudan

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.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Learn more at www.SavetheChildren.org.

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