24 million Sudanese children facing ‘generational catastrophe’

© UNICEF/Ahmed Elfatih Mohamdee Children displaced by the fighting and insecurity in Sudan, sheltering in Sennar in the Blue Nile state.

United Nations, 18 March 2024

As the war in Sudan enters its second year next month, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on Monday warned of a staggering toll of the crisis on children, with an estimated 24 million teetering on the brink of a “generational catastrophe”.

Since the conflict erupted in April 2023, pitting the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) against the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the CRC – an independent body ensuring children’s rights and protections worldwide – has documented a litany of atrocities.

There were worrying reports of rape of civilians, including children, denial of humanitarian access affecting children’s access to basic necessities and other violations of international law, including violations of children’s economic and social rights,” the Committee said in a news release.

The situation has thrust almost 24 million Sudanese children into jeopardy, with a staggering 14 million requiring urgent humanitarian assistance, 19 million deprived of education and four million displaced from their homes.

Their conditions are appalling,” the Committee added, noting acute shortages of food and clean drinking water and severely limited access to healthcare and medicines.

The Committee also warned of a sharp increase in the number of children killed or falling victim to sexual violence as a weapon of war compared to a year ago.

Children are at higher risk given the widespread armed recruitment of children, particularly in Darfur and other areas, including eastern Sudan, it said.

“Schools across the country have either been destroyed or at least 170 campuses turned into emergency shelters for internally displaced people, thus jeopardizing children’s right to education for many years to come and exposing them to the risk of sexual exploitation and trafficking,” it added.

The Committee called on Sudan to immediately take all urgent and necessary measures to end the severe violations and fulfil its commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as to cooperate with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan, established by the Human Rights Council in October 2023.

It also reminded the State of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, amid reports that both SAF and RSF recruited hundreds of children in Darfur and eastern Sudan.

“The Committee calls on Sudan to immediately stop recruiting children and to spare them from the impact of the military operations of the two parties,” the Committee said.

The original article appeared here.

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