March 16, 2023 (NEW YORK) – The United Nations has urged the Government of South Sudan to combat impunity for grave violations against children, ensure that the victims and survivors receive justice and to hold perpetrators accountable.
The call is part of a 15-page report submitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday. It covers the period from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2022.
The report highlights trends and patterns of grave violations committed against children by parties to the conflict in South Sudan and provides details of the progress made to end and prevent such violations against children in the country.
It expressed concerns about the protracted nature of the conflict in South Sudan and escalating intercommunal violence that has devastating impact on children.
The report faulted the national army (SSPDF) for the violation of attacks on schools and hospitals, while the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) has been accused for alleged recruitment and use, killing and maiming and abduction of children.
“I call on the Government to take the necessary steps to break the cycle of violence and to address the underlying causes of conflict,” it reads in part.
The UN report urged government to engage with the world body to strengthen the overall legal framework to safeguard the rights of children in South Sudan.
According to the UN, it verified 457 grave violations against 409 children, adding that 60 of these violations occurred between 1 July and 31 December 2020, 168 of the violation occurred in 2021 and 183 between 1 January and 30 June 2022.
Some of these violations, the report, partly happened due to the prevailing pockets of armed conflict resulting from defections and the splintering of parties to the conflict and partly to the improved conditions for monitoring and reporting on grave violations enabled by the formation of the necessary unified forces.
“A total of 23 children (3 boys and 20 girls) were affected by multiple violations, including 16 girls who were abducted and raped, 2 girls who were raped and killed and 3 boys who were abducted and recruited and used,” it stressed.
Meanwhile, the UN welcomed the commitment of parties to the peace deal to the Comprehensive Action Plan and urged them to expeditiously implement all of its provisions fully, including those on addressing conflict-related sexual violence