Amid rising reports of gender-based violence, UNICEF is appealing for urgent support to sustain and scale up aid for women and children caught in Sudan's rapidly escalating crisis.
After almost three months of open warfare in Sudan, senior United Nations officials are voicing shock and condemnation at the growing number of reports of gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence against internally displaced people and refugee women and girls.
Since full-scale armed conflict erupted on April 15, 2023, the UN Human Rights Office in Sudan has received credible reports of 21 incidents of conflict-related sexual violence against at least 57 women and girls. The victims include at least 10 girls. In one case, as many as 20 women were reportedly raped in the same attack.
Senior UN officials are calling for an immediate end to gender-based violence, including sexual violence as a tactic of war to terrorize people
The Unit for Combatting Violence against Women under Sudan’s Ministry of Social Development also continues to receive reports of conflict-related sexual violence. It has documented at least 42 alleged cases in the capital, Khartoum, and 46 in the Darfur region.
UN agencies are working together to reach survivors with timely access to health services and medical supplies, despite the ongoing violence. As part of that effort, UNICEF is working on the procurement of post-rape kits, risk mitigation and prevention and response initiatives.
UNICEF Child-Friendly Spaces give kids in crisis zones a much-needed sense of safety and normalcy
UNICEF is helping Sudan's children access safe water, health care, food and shelter
UNICEF is urgently appealing for more funds to help protect the smallest victims of an unfolding crisis.
By mid June, almost 2.2 million people, including more than 1 million children, had been displaced across Sudan and to neighboring countries. Over 13 million children — one out of every two kids in Sudan — are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Since the start of the conflict, UNICEF has shipped more than 100 trucks filled with more than 3,600 metric tons of lifesaving supplies across 12 states. UNICEF teams are working with partners to reach children with basic services including child protection, health care, drinking water, food and shelter.
The situation is catastrophic, and sadly it is deteriorating. — Mandeep O'Brien, UNICEF Representative in Sudan
"Kids are caught up in the middle of heavy fighting in the Darfur, Kordofan, Khartoum and other places in Sudan," says Mandeep O'Brien, UNICEF Representative in Sudan. "Kids are fleeing with families, displaced across the country and across borders."
"The situation is catastrophic," says O'Brien, "and sadly it is deteriorating."
Grave violations against children in armed conflict zones a growing problem worldwide
The UN has verified over 27,000 grave violations against children in armed conflict around the world in 2022 — the highest number on record — including death, recruitment, rape, abduction and maiming. The annual report shows the highest ever number of situations of concern, 26 in five regions. Non-state armed groups were responsible for over 50 percent of grave violations last year.
Ethiopia, Mozambique and Ukraine were all added to the list in 2022; the situation in Sudan was too recent to be included. The highest numbers of grave violations against children were verified in longstanding protracted conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel and the State of Palestine, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Yemen. The countries where the "worst deterioration" occurred were Myanmar, South Sudan and Burkina Faso.
Addressing the UN Security Council on July 5, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi commended countries working to strengthen protections for children, and encouraged others to follow their lead. "I urge all states and entities to join us in putting children first, and protecting them today so they can grow up to create a more peaceful world for future generations."
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