Nothing can justify terrible acts of abuse against women and children in Kasai

 

Nothing can justify terrible acts of abuse against women and children in Kasai

A nurse from the Kabea Kamwanga hospital is treating a malnourished and malaria-infected child with medicines donated by UNICEF, on May 20th 2017.The hospital of Kabea Kamwanga, supported by UNICEF with emergency funds is located 70 km north-west of Mbuji-mayi, in the direction of Kananga, in the province of Kasai Orientale, in the south Of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a region plagued by conflict between the militia of the traditional leader Kamuina Nsapu and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) since June 2016.

Un infirmier de l'h皫ital de Kabea Kamwanga traite un enfant en 彋at de malnutrition et souffrant de paludisme, ?l'aide de m嶮icaments offert par l'UNICEF, le 20 mai 2017. L'h皫ital de Kabea Kamwanga, soutenu par l'UNICEF ?l'aide de fonds d'urgence, est situ??70 km au nord-ouest de Mbuji-mayi, en direction de Kananga, dans la province du Kasa?Orientale, au sud de la R廧ublique d幦ocratique du Congo, une r嶲ion en proie aux conflits entre les miliciens du chef traditionnel Kamuina Nsapu et les Forces Arm嶪s de la R廧ublique d幦ocratique du Congo (FARDC) depuis juin 2016.

© UNICEF/Wieland

Children who have fled violent attacks in the Kasai region play in a ‘Child Friendly Space’ provided by UNICEF in the Mussungue reception centre for refugees in Dundo, northern Angola.

Statement attributable to Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

DAKAR/NEW YORK/HONG KONG, 7 August 2017 – “The world must not turn a blind eye to the dire situation of children and families in the Grand Kasai region. Over the past 12 months, more than 1.4 million people – including 850,000 children – have been forced from their homes, and their lives turned upside down by widespread acts of extreme violence.

“Children and women tell us of terrible acts of abuse. Many children have been recruited by armed forces, drugged and caught in the violence.

“Nothing can justify these actions.

“The situation for children is getting worse, and families displaced by the conflict cannot access the most basic services. More than 200 health centres have been destroyed, and one in four health centres is no longer functioning normally. An estimated 400,000 children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition.

“Children have lost a year of education, as hundreds of schools have been targeted and looted, teachers killed or fled for safety. Fear of violence means teachers are not able to go to work, while parents are scared to send their children to school.

“All parties to the conflict must protect children, end grave violations against children, and preserve schools and health services. Humanitarian actors must have unhindered humanitarian access to affected populations so that we can reach all those in need of assistance.

“Because of our long-term presence in the region and extensive network of local partners, UNICEF is responding to the escalating humanitarian needs, reaching more than 150,000 people affected by the crisis with nutrition, health, education, water and sanitation, direct cash grants and child protection interventions.

“But unless this violence stops, our best work will never be enough. The lives of many thousands of children are at risk.”