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24 million children exposed to a year of brutality and rights violations, UN committee says: Sudan conflict


March 18, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

GENEVA (18 March 2024) – Twelve months into the armed conflict in Sudan, 24 million children are at risk of a generational catastrophe, and their rights to life, survival, protection, education, health, and development have all been gravely violated, a UN committee said.

To mark a year of brutality against Sudanese children, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) issued the following media statement, urging Sudan to immediately put an end to these grave violations and stop recruiting children to the armed forces.

“Since the conflict began in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the Committee on the Rights of the Child has observed repeated attacks on civilians and civilian objects, widespread killings, including ethnically motivated, and the death of thousands of civilians, many of them are children.

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.

These violations resulted in 24 million children in Sudan being at risk of generational catastrophe. Among these children, 14 million are in dire need of humanitarian support, 19 million are out of school, and 4 million are displaced, according to UNICEF, making Sudan now the largest child displacement crisis in the world.

Their conditions are appalling, with acute shortages of food and clean drinking water; UNICEF found that 3.7 million children are acutely malnourished, including 730,000 with severe acute malnutrition.

Exacerbating the situation, two-thirds of Sudanese lack access to health care services after 70-80% of hospitals ceased operation following a severe shortage of medical supplies, including lifesaving medicines.

UNICEF has warned that tens of thousands of children will likely die without improved access and additional support, including increased international funding.

There has been a sharp increase in the number of children killed or victimised by 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.

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

The Committee is deeply concerned by these clear violations of children’s rights to life, survival, education and development under international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The Committee urges Sudan to immediately take all urgent and necessary measures to end these severe violations and fulfil its commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Committee reminds Sudan of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict in light of reports that both parties to the conflict have 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 further urges Sudan to cooperate with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan, established by the Human Rights Council in October 2023, to put an end to impunity for crimes committed against children and other civilians, to allow access to humanitarian aid and to move forward in the negotiation process between the parties to the conflict to restore peace and security.

The Committee echoes the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, who warned that “Some of these violations would amount to war crimes. There must be prompt, thorough, effective, transparent, independent and impartial investigations into all allegations of violations and abuses of international human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and those responsible must be brought to justice.”


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