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SUDAN: Over 1,500 children subjected to extreme violence as conflict breaks records for crimes against children

The number of children killed, injured or facing other grave violations in Sudan soared six-fold in 2023 to a record high as a devastating conflict paralysed the country, highlighting the need for urgent global action to address this escalating crisis, Save the Children said.
25 June 2024

New UN data shows at least 1,721 grave violations against 1,526 children in 2023 – actions that cause significant harm or threaten children’s well-being and rights – a spike from 306 recorded in 2022.  
The cases documented in the UN’s Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict included over 480 children killed, 764 maimed, and over 200 recruited into the conflict. At least 114 girls were also raped or subject to sexual violence.[1]  
This was the highest highest number recorded in the country since 2006, when the UN began systematically gathering information on the six grave violations committed against children in conflict.[2][3][4]

While it is the responsibility of the UN to verify all reported grave violations, the ongoing violence and lack of access for monitors in Sudan mean that the numbers, while staggering, likely only represent a fraction of the true number of grave violations against children that have taken place in Sudan in the past year.

Since the outbreak of conflict in Sudan in April 2023, children and their families have suffered increasing violence, hunger and displacement. Save the Children analysis with the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) found that one in two children have been within five kilometres of the frontlines of the conflict within the last year, leaving them exposed to gunfire, shelling, airstrikes and other violence.[5]

Meanwhile, over 4 million children have been forced to flee their homes and increasing food scarcity has left an estimated 5 million people, most of them children under five, acutely malnourished.[6]

Dr. Arif Noor, Save the Children’s Country Director in Sudan said:

“It is unconscionable that 1,721 crimes against children took place in Sudan last year – and with swathes of violations going unreported, we know this will just be the tip of the iceberg. The huge increase on previous years proves that conflict always devastates children’s lives, and must end immediately.

“As well as the killing and maiming of children, over 200 children have been forced into armed recruitment, and there have been horrific reports of mass executions and rape – including of children.

“We’re calling for the international community to take urgent political action to address this crisis. This conflict demands more than just humanitarian aid – it demands a political solution. Global leaders must do everything in their power to find solutions to end the fighting and work directly with the parties to the conflict to ensure they are adhering to their obligations under international law while parties to the conflict need to take all feasible precautions to prevent grave violations against children.”

The crisis in Sudan is truly a children’s crisis. Currently 14 million children out of a child population of 22 million need humanitarian support, 19 million children are out of school and 4 million children are displaced. But despite the scale of need, Sudan’s humanitarian crisis is extremely under-resourced, with just 16% of its humanitarian plan funded half-way through the year.

Save the Children has worked in Sudan since 1983. As one of the largest NGOs in Sudan, we provide a range of services supporting children to access health, nutrition, water and sanitation facilities, education, child protection and food security and livelihoods support. We are currently working with 25 local partners in 12 out of the 18 Sudanese states and we’re also providing critical support to children who have fled to neighbouring South Sudan and Egypt. Last year we supported 2.4 million people in Sudan, including 979,000 children with critical humanitarian assistance.  


MEDIA CONTACT: Joshua Mcdonald on 0478010972 or

Notes to editors:

[1] The latest Secretary General report on Children and Armed Conflict identified 1,721 violations against children in Sudan in 2023 which included each of the six grave violations: killing and maiming of children (1,244 cases), recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups (209), rape and other forms of sexual violence against children (114), abduction of children (20), attacks on schools and hospitals (85) and denial of humanitarian access to children (49).
[2] In 2005 the UN Security Council established a Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) on grave violations committed against children in times of armed conflict.
[3] The next highest number recorded in any year since 2006 was 854 in 2009. Historic data compiled by Save the Children here:
[4] Until its independence in 2010, the UN report included what is now South Sudan in its reporting on Sudan.

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