Children associated with armed forces

The challenge

UNICEF in action


The challenge

© UNICEF South Sudan/2016/Lomodong

Situation overview

The conflict that began in December 2013 continues to affect the lives of millions. Violence is widespread and human rights violations are common. Insecurity and active hostilities continue despite the signing of peace agreements by the parties to the conflict. The South Sudan Peoples Defense Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army – in Opposition (SPLA-IO) have signed a commitment to end violations against children, but grave violations continue to be reported through the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, including killing, maiming, abduction, sexual violence, and recruitment.

Since the start of the 2013 conflict, over 19,000 children have been reported to be associated with armed forces and groups. In 2017, the conflict expanded to new areas and reports of killing, recruitment and use of children and denial of humanitarian access increased in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal and Greater Equatoria regions. Insecurity across the country continues to stretch UNICEF’s and partners’ capacity to respond and is creating conditions for further family separation, psychosocial distress, and risk of injuries or death associated with conflict.















Situation of children

19,000 children estimated to be associated with armed forces or groups

2,886 verified incidents of grave violations against children reported, affecting over 16,330 children

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