UN adds Sudan army, RSF to blacklist for child rights violations

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The United Nations has added Sudan’s army and rival paramilitary forces to a blacklist for harming children in war, as the organization decried a “shocking” rise in such violations around the world, according to a UN report obtained by AFP Tuesday.

“In 2023, violence against children in armed conflict reached extreme levels, with a shocking 21 per cent increase in grave violations,” said the report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres which is due to be published on Thursday.

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The Sudanese army and the rival Rapid Support Forces were added to a UN blacklist for “the killing and maiming of children, and for attacks on schools and hospitals.”

Sudan has seen “a staggering 480 percent increase in grave violations against children” against children from 2022 to 2023, the report said.

The RSF was listed for recruiting children and for “rape and other forms of sexual violence against children,” as well as attacks on schools and hospitals.

“I am appalled by the dramatic increase in grave violations,” Guterres wrote in the report, also noting a rise in ethnically motivated attacks and mass displacement of children in Sudan.

Covering some 20 conflict zones worldwide, the annual report includes the killing, injuring, recruitment, kidnapping and sexual violence against children.

It verified 30,705 “grave violations” committed last year, including during the war in Gaza.

“The conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory presents an unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children, with hostilities leading to an increase in grave violations of 155 per cent,” the report said.

Israel’s army and militant group Hamas have both been added to the UN blacklist for violating children’s rights, an addition that was leaked to the media last week.

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