Southern Sudan IV
Juba’s Lost Generation, December 2006
Joseph is 13. He lives in Yei station in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. He lost his family in the tumult after his home-town of Torit fell to the Sudanese army. “My parents told me to run so I did. I never saw them again,” he says. “I had no one to look after me when I got to Juba. I tried to get work but it is hard for a vagrant child like me. One night a man in a uniform came by in a white UN car with dark writing on it. He stopped near where I was sitting and asked if I need some money. I said yes so he told me to get in the car. He took me to a place where there was no one around and abused me. When it was over, I was scared because he was very rough and angry with me. He pushed me out of the car. I asked him for money before he drove away but he didn’t give me anything.”
An investigation into the behavior of UN peacekeeping forces in southern Sudan revealed that the abuse of street children like Joseph is a widespread, and a widely known, problem within Juba. The beleaguered UN has frequently promised to fully investigate those accused of such abuse but little has been done to track down those involved in the abuses or to interview those making the accusations.