Deep concerns about the impact of violence on children

Deep concerns about the impact of violence on children

New York City/May 5, 2009/UN/– The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today that it is deeply concerned at the impact on children of continuing violence in a number of states of Southern Sudan, and urged that all parties ensure the protection of young people.

The agency calls on groups involved in fighting in Southern Sudan to show “immediate restraint and ensure the full protection of children, those who care for them, and the services on which they depend for their survival and development,” UNICEF’s Veronique Taveau told a news conference in Geneva, recalling that Sudan is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ms. Taveau said that since the start of this year, thousands of children are estimated to have been displaced from their homes due to attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central and Western Equatoria, while repeated clashes between tribal groups in Jonglei, Lakes and Warrap States were believed to have resulted in the death and abduction of children.

In Pibor Country of Jonglei State, more than 140 children had been reportedly abducted, while children were feared to be among the 450 people believed killed in Pibor and the 170 people killed in Akobo County.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) had, almost two weeks ago, expressed its deep concern over renewed tribal clashes in the country’s southern Jonglei State. It had appealed to local authorities to take steps to restore stability in the affected areas and also to the Government of Southern Sudan to do all it can to ensure civilians’ safety and to find a way to end the hostilities.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 by the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan ended two decades of north-south civil war.

UNICEF noted that since then, progress in primary education and health care has been a positive example of the valuable peace dividends benefiting the children of Southern Sudan.

However, these gains are being jeopardized by the current level of violence, the agency warned, calling on all parties to ensure the protection of all children in Southern Sudan.

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