South Sudan: Renewed conflict threatens the lives of many children
Owing to a political dispute, on 15 December 2013 violence between rival army factions erupted in South Sudan. As a result thousands of people have been killed, many of them children, with 860,000 displaced.
A serious humanitarian crisis is unfolding in South Sudan and the United Nations (UN) estimates that 3.7 million people are in acute need of food as a result of the conflict. Evidence of the use of child soldiers and mass war crimes has surfaced, implicating both sides in the civil war. Mass killings, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence are among the many crimes being committed not only against the adult population, but also against children. As a result, schools have been forced to close, denying children of their basic right to education.
According to Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant secretary-general, South Sudan faces a “horrifying human-rights disaster.” The displaced people are living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Ethiopia, and due to a lack of water and sanitation the lives of the refugees are seriously threatened. Many of them are suffering with illnesses such as malaria, measles and diarrhoea. Aid agencies are appealing for help as they struggle to cope with the huge demand.
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