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South Sudan, 20 November 2016: Universal Children’s Day: A wake-up call on child rights violations

JUBA, South Sudan, 20 November 2016 – Despite enormous progress realized for children since the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, the rights of millions of children are being violated every day, UNICEF said today as it marked Universal Children’s Day.

“Three years of fighting in South Sudan have caused immense suffering among children with thousands having been killed, sexually abused and recruited,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “The violation of rights that the world has promised to protect children against must end, so that children are able to live free from fear, fulfill their potential and contribute to peace in their country.”

More than 900,000 children have been uprooted and more than one million forced to drop out of school as a result of a conflict that first began in December 2013. An estimated 17,000 children remain in the ranks of various armed forces and armed groups. The combination of conflict and economic crisis has also driven malnutrition rates among children to alarming levels. So far this year, UNICEF and partners have treated more than 170,000 children under five with severe malnutrition.

South Sudan ratified the CRC in 2015. The world’s most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty, the CRC sets out a basic, universal standard for a healthy, protected, decent childhood for every human being.

Despite marked progress for children globally in recent decades, nearly six million children still die every year from preventable causes – and children from poor households are twice as likely as children from wealthier homes to die before reaching their fifth birthdays.

Nearly 50 million children have been uprooted – 28 million of them displaced by conflict. Children trapped in besieged areas – including Syria, Iraq, and northern Nigeria are at greater risk of having their rights violated, with their schools, hospitals and homes under attack. Globally, around 250 million live in countries affected by conflict.

Next month UNICEF will mark 70 years of working to bring life-saving aid, long-term support and hope to children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict, crises, poverty, inequality and discrimination. UNICEF has been working in South Sudan since 1989, under Operation Lifeline Sudan, which assisted Sudan’s affected population from 1989 to 2005.

“Every child deserves a fair chance in life,” said Mdoe. “To achieve that, we must match our commitment to child rights with action.”


Notes to Editors:

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For further information, please contact:
Tim Irwin, UNICEF South Sudan, Tel: +211 91 216 2888,

Marianna Zaichykova, UNICEF South Sudan, Tel: +211 95 686 9134,



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