Photo from ryot.org
It shouldn't happen anywhere--young children being used by governments or rebel groups to fight their wars--but in South Sudan it's just one horror in a long list of horrors. In January the UN Mission in South Sudan issued a scathing report detailing widespread atrocities: "The scale, intensity and severity of human rights violations and abuses have increased with the continuation of the hostilities" and have pushed 4 million people to the brink of starvation. The report cites large-scale killings, attacks that single out children, and "an unprecedented level of sexual violence including gang rape and sex slavery." A particularly disturbing feature of the conflict, the report says, is the warring parties' total disregard for any safe havens including hospitals, religious institutions and areas such as UN enclosures where civilians fleeing the fighting have assembled.
The UN estimates that 13,000 - 15,000 child soldiers are now active in the escalating conflict.
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