Children being used to commit atrocities in South Sudan: UN diplomat

Child Soldiers in an unknown location in South Sudan (File photo)

October 16th 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – Children in South Sudan are being used by parties to the conflict to commit atrocities against innocent civilians according to the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Ms Virgina Gamba.

In a statement issued on Monday and seen by the Nyamilepedia, the UN diplomat said she is dismayed at the levels of suffering endured by South Sudan children during the armed conflict in South Sudan saying children are being used to commit atrocities in South Sudan.

“Grave violations against children were often interconnected: abduction took place for the purpose of recruitment, boys and girls recruited were killed or maimed or sexually abused. Many children were also used to commit atrocities against civilians and other children, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence,” the UN diplomat said in a statement.

The report indicated that among these  9,200 victims of human rights abuses, over  5,700 of them have been recruited into armed forces by South Sudan warring parties, making it the most prevalence of human rights violations in African.

The report added that the number of children abducted during the conflict has risen to nearly 2,000 and close to another 980 children were killed or maimed, both by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and other armed groups in the world’s youngest nation.

The report further between January 2016 and 2018, more than 650 children were verified as sexually abused during the reporting period with an estimated 75% of them cases involving gruesome gang rapes by South Sudan conflicting parties.

The UN diplomat urged South Sudan Government to review the existing 2016 Action Plan as agreed by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) before the outbreak of the conflict in South Sudan adding that accountability in South Sudan needs to be a “two-way street” stressing that there must be a political environment that fosters and enforces laws and orders.

“It is urgent to address impunity for perpetrators and revise the existing Action Plan into a comprehensive one to end and prevent all grave violations against children, as agreed with the authorities during my visit in September,” the statement added.

The Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, said  the situation remained fragile in some some areas in South Sudan where children do not access essential service to rebuild their lives.

“Obstructing the timely delivery of humanitarian aid can have dramatic consequences for children in need, in a country already facing enormous humanitarian challenges, including episodes of famine and outbreaks of diseases,” Gamba said.