News ID : 172112
Publish Date : 5/4/2024 7:31:46 PM
UNICEF urges immediate action to protect children amid escalating violence in Sudan's Darfur region

UNICEF urges immediate action to protect children amid escalating violence in Sudan's Darfur region

The United Nations children's organization has called for immediate action to protect children amid escalating violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

Executive Director of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), Catherine Russell, expressed grave concern over the escalating violence in Sudan’s North Darfur, particularly in and around the city of el-Fasher.

In a statement, Russell called for a ceasefire stressing the urgency of stopping the fighting between the army, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah Burhan, and the fighters loyal to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Burhan's former deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

She underlined the devastating impact that the ongoing conflict has had on children in Sudan.

“There are deeply concerning reports of children being separated from their families or reportedly going missing,” she said.

She especially raised concerns about the dire situation for children in the Sudanese city of el-Fasher amid an imminent threat of a large-scale military attack on the regional hub where humanitarian aid is currently concentrated.

Russell pointed out the city shelters at least 500,000 people displaced by violence, noting that the lives and well-being of some 750,000 children were in danger due to the dire situation there.

She said, "More than 330,000 people are reportedly facing acute food insecurity in el-Fasher.”

Russell said the escalating violence in Sudan is pushing the country towards a conflict-induced famine and urged immediate action to prevent further loss of life, especially among children.

“At the same time, a severe lack of humanitarian access and an inability to deliver commercial goods due to the insecurity have led to the scarcity of essential services and rocketing costs for water, food and fuel."

Russell called on all fighting parties to prioritize the protection of civilians, urging them to bear in mind the importance of maintaining safe passage of those who seek refuge in safer areas. She also called the fighting sides to allow for rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access.

Currently, the army controls el-Fasher, and it is supported by armed movements that signed the Juba peace agreement with the government in 2020.

However, reports say the fighters loyal to the RSF are preparing for an “imminent assault” on El-Fasher.

Fighting between the army and RSF started in April 2023 over disagreements about the integration of the two forces.

The fight has resulted in a devastating humanitarian crisis across the country, as well as military clashes that have killed nearly 16,000 people while it has displaced millions of Sudanese people.

Khartoum has complained to the United Nations Security Council over what it described as the United Arab Emirates' interference and “aggression against the Sudanese people.”

The Khartoum government remains in control of most of the Nile Valley and the country’s eastern provinces and ports, while the RSF wields control over most of the oil-rich Darfur region, most of the capital region and parts of North and West Kordofan.

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