UN report on children in conflict zones: Sudan tops list, Congo and Haiti follow | World News - Hindustan Times
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UN report on children in conflict zones: Sudan tops list, Congo and Haiti follow

Jun 14, 2024 01:40 PM IST

A report by the UN blacklisted Sudan as well as Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, Israel and other countries for the violation of children's rights

The United Nations envoy tracking violations against children in conflicts around the world, published a report that expresses concern about the state of children in war-torn Sudan, as well as Congo and Haiti.

Sudan tops the list of concerns when it comes to children in conflict according to a UN envoy's report (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP)(AFP)
Sudan tops the list of concerns when it comes to children in conflict according to a UN envoy's report (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP)(AFP)

At the launch of the secretary-general's annual report and UN blacklist of violators, UN envoy Virginia Gamba, addressed the news conference and stated that she was worried about children caught in conflicts such as Myanmar's civil war and also its effects on neighbouring country Bangladesh.

“For the future, on the horizon, I'm worried about Somalia and Afghanistan,” she said.

In a first, the report also blacklisted Israeli forces, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants, for violating children's rights during Hamas' October 7 attack and the current Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The UN also added the Russian armed forces and related armed groups on the blacklist for a second year for killing Ukrainian children and attacking schools and hospitals.

According to PTI, Gamba is very concerned about the plight of children in the wars in Ukraine and in Gaza, as well as in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Sudan

“But the ones that I'm really worried about for, let's say, the rest of this year and beginning of next year, are first and foremost Sudan, particularly Darfur, and Chad because it is expanding,” she reportedly said.

Sudan plunged into conflict in April 2023, when long-simmering tensions between its military and paramilitary leaders broke out in the capital Khartoum and spread to other regions including Darfur.

The UN says over 14,000 people have been killed and 33,000 injured.

According to PTI, Gamba said their “ferocious armed struggle” led to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces being put on the blacklist for killing and maiming, raping and committing other acts of sexual violence, as well as attacking schools and hospitals.

The Sudanese Armed Forces were also listed for killing and injuring children and attacking schools and hospitals.

Congo

In Congo, the 13,500-strong UN peacekeeping force will withdraw by December, leaving rebel groups and the government to fight in its security deficient mineral-rich east

Gamba said that “massive sexual violence” against children was taking place and “is going to swell”. When the UN withdraws, Gamba will ‘lose her eyes’ on ground and fears losing engagement, PTI reported.

Haiti

Gamba only monitored violence against children in Haiti for the last six months of 2023 and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres didn't have the data to decide who should go on the blacklist, PTI reported.

Gangs have grown in power since the July 7, 2021, assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, and are now estimated to control up to 80% of the capital. The surge in killings, rapes and kidnappings has led to a violent uprising by civilian vigilante groups.

In the report, the UN chief expressed deep concern at the “indiscriminate armed gang violence and grave violations against children.”

The UN verified 383 grave violations against 307 children in the last six months of 2023 — 160 boys, 117 girls and 30 whose sex wasn't known — and it lists about a dozen gangs that were responsible for the violations.

Gamba said she the grave violations of children's rights seem to be “endemic, and particularly systemic (is) the rape of girls."

(with inputs from PTI)

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