By Francis Okot Oyat (Published on 13th September 2017)
In many African countries confronted with escalating conflict, protection issues of children remain a major challenge. UNHCR says children make up to 62% of the 1.8 million people displaced by fighting in South Sudan, and more than 75,000 unaccompanied minors have fled to Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. (Sudan Tribune, 18th May 2017). In conflict situations children are exposed to a wide range of abuses, including defilement, abduction and forceful recruitment into military forces or groups, sexual slavery and exploitation leading to early pregnancy and early parenthood, brutal murder of adults creating unaccompanied and orphaned children, torture and physical brutality, and forceful displacement. Refugee children with limited physical and psychological capacity to support themselves continue to add to the numbers of those who lose their lives in preventable circumstances.