UNICEF deeply concerned over increased violence against children in Sudans Darfur

Executive Director Carol Bellamy said reports of aid agency monitors “strongly dispute claims that the situation is under control” in the vast western region where nearly 1.7 million people have been forced from their homes and Janjaweed militias stand accused of killing and raping thousands of villagers after rebel groups took up arms against the Government last year.The stark assessment, which included new reports of rape and of children being separated from their parents, came as the UN Security Council held an extraordinary meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in an effort to end wars in both the south and west of Sudan and ensure the protection of civilians throughout Africa’s largest country.”The only party capable of securing the lives of these people is the Government itself,” Ms. Bellamy said. “For as long as we continue to hear of the violence and insecurity faced by Sudanese children, we will continue to call for those responsible to be brought to account for their actions.”Children are not just being driven from the lands of their ancestors. They are witness to and victims of violent terror. They suffer deprivation and sickness in their bid to escape. And they seek asylum along with their families in camps in which their security cannot be guaranteed.”Aid agencies working in the troubled region have expressed dismay at the steadily increasing number of people arriving in the camps, as well as a surge in violent incidents in and around the camps themselves, UNICEF said.Children are said to have been loaded on to trucks and transported to a new camp without their parents, and injured in Government attempts to relocate camps. This forced relocation is in clear violation of international humanitarian law and existing agreements recently signed by the Government of Sudan, it added.Armed militia are raping girls and women in Darfur as a tactic to terrorize and humiliate individuals as well as their entire families and communities, the UN agency said. To date there are few reports of attackers being punished. Many girls and women walk six to eight hours a day to get firewood for their basic survival – terrified of harassment and rape.Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that while the attention of the media had focused heavily on the continuing humanitarian emergency in Darfur, the food outlook for southern Sudan in 2005 looked fairly bleak.It said the situation could worsen when peace is achieved between the north and south, since there would most likely be an influx of southerners returning to their homes.

Leave a Comment