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Sudan: Children killed & abused amid escalating violence

PEACE NEEDED: Sudan

AT LEAST 19 children have reportedly been killed in Sudan and another 49 have been injured since a military crackdown on peaceful protests began earlier this month.

UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore released a statement, calling an end to the unrest. “I am gravely concerned at the impact of the continuing violence and unrest in the country on children and young people, especially the reported use of excessive force against peaceful protestors.

“We have received information that children are being detained, recruited to join the fighting and sexually abused. Schools, hospitals and health centres have been targeted, looted and destroyed. Health workers have been attacked simply for doing their job.

“Many parents are too scared to let their children leave the house, fearful of violence, harassment and lawlessness.

“Water, food and medicine shortages have been reported across the country, putting children’s health and wellbeing at risk.”

Tensions increased in April after military overthrew the nation’s president, Omar Hassan-al Bashir.

On June 3, military and opposition forces opened fire on peaceful protesters demanding a transition to a civilian-led government. They killed an estimated 31 people and injured hundreds in Khartoum, Sudan.

Reports also suggest that countless protesters were raped amid the escalating violence.

“Even in the face of this unrest, UNICEF’s work for children in Sudan continues,” said Fore. “We are providing millions of children, including those who have been displaced or are refugees, with vaccines, safe water, treatment for severe acute malnutrition and psychosocial support. But the violence must stop.

“UNICEF appeals to all those involved to protect children at all times and to keep them out of harm’s way. Any attack on children, schools or hospitals is a grave violation of children’s rights.

Fore said she joins the Secretary-General in urging the party is involved to transfer power to a civilian-led transition authority.

“The children of Sudan want peace. The international community needs to take a firm stand in support of their aspirations.”

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