Unspeakable Crimes Are Being Committed Against Children in South Sudan
A chilling description of violence in South Sudan that left as many as 129 children dead in May comes from UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, and serves as a plea to the world:
“Survivors report that boys have been castrated and left to bleed to death…. Girls as young as 8 have been gang raped and murdered…. Children have been tied together before their attackers slit their throats.... Others have been thrown into burning buildings.”
Civil war has raged in South Sudan for 18 months, and the children who have survived the brutalities that Lake describes are not faring much better. Children are being “aggressively recruited into armed groups on both sides on an alarming scale—an estimated 13,000 children forced to participate in a conflict not of their making,” Lake said.
The crisis in the Central African nation has been decried by every major human rights group on Earth, and little relief is in sight—the U.N. says 2 million people have been displaced and more than 4 million face severe food insecurity since the conflict broke out in December 2013.
The top official in the U.N.’s peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, Hervé Ladsous, has been vocal about complaints as the country deteriorates.
“We needed attack helicopters—request denied. We needed [drones]—request denied by the president to me, personally, three times last year,” Ladsous told the U.N. Security Council this week, according to the Sudan Tribune.
Earlier this week, the European Union and the U.N. announced $275 million in pledges to support victims of violence and displacement in the country. It’s unclear if that will be enough, particularly for those who have witnessed the worst of this conflict and who may struggle to recover at any price.