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Sudan: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child decries year of brutality against 24 million children

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Press release

Geneva – January 18, 2024


In a sobering assessment released today, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has issued a damning indictment of the ongoing armed conflict in Sudan. As the nation marks a full year of strife, the committee reveals that a staggering 24 million children are now confronted with a dire and harrowing reality characterized by egregious rights violations and a looming generational catastrophe.

Since the eruption of hostilities in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the CRC has documented a litany of

atrocities perpetrated against civilians, with a particularly devastating impact on children. The report cites indiscriminate attacks on civilian populations, including ethnically motivated killings, and the tragic loss of thousands of innocents’ lives, many of whom are minors.

Disturbingly, reports of rape, including of children, have surfaced alongside a systematic denial of humanitarian access, exacerbating the suffering of vulnerable communities and impeding children’s access to necessities. The committee further notes widespread violations of international law, including the economic and social rights of children, painting a grim portrait of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Sudan.

As a result of these grave violations, a staggering 14 million children find themselves in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. In contrast, a staggering 19 million are deprived of education, and four million have been forcibly displaced. Such dire circumstances have propelled Sudan into the embarrassing position of hosting the world’s largest child displacement crisis, a title that underscores the urgent need for decisive action.

The situation on the ground is dire, with acute shortages of food and clean water exacerbating an already precarious situation. Shockingly, UNICEF reports that 3.7 million children are acutely malnourished, including 730,000 suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Compounding these challenges, the collapse of medical services has left two-thirds of the Sudanese population without access to essential healthcare, placing countless lives at risk.

In the face of such staggering adversity, the CRC has issued a clarion call to Sudan, urging immediate and concerted action to halt these egregious violations and honor its commitments under international law. Specifically, the committee demands an end to the recruitment of children into the armed forces, a cessation of attacks on civilian populations, and unfettered access to humanitarian aid.

Moreover, the CRC underscores the importance of cooperation with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan, established by the Human Rights Council, to ensure accountability for crimes committed against children and other civilians. The committee echoes the sentiments of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasizing the imperative of

thorough and impartial investigations into alleged violations, with perpetrators held to account.

As the international community grapples with the unfolding crisis in Sudan, the plight of its children serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for concerted action to protect the most vulnerable among us. The eyes of the world are upon Sudan, and the time for meaningful intervention is now. Failure to act swiftly and decisively risks an entire generation to untold suffering and deprivation.

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