3 April 2011

UNICEF Ambassador Martin Bell writes in today’s Mail on Sunday about the harsh realities for the children of Southern Sudan.

In today’s Live magazine, you will find a powerful and informative account from UNICEF Ambassador Martin Bell about his eight-day trip to Southern Sudan.

Martin visited the region with fellow UNICEF Ambassador Mia Farrow just two months after a historic referendum, which called for the creation of a new nation in Southern Sudan. The referendum was part of a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement to end the two-decade-long war between the north and the south, which has claimed over two million lives.

Click here to see Martin’s exclusive video report for UNICEF from South Sudan.

In his eight-day visit, Martin Bell witnessed first hand the devastating impact on the lives of women and children from attacks by the brutal rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), in Western Equatoria. He also met families who fled the region during the civil war and are now returning in their thousands ahead of Southern Sudan independence on 9 July.

Throughout his trip Martin met children who are still suffering from the impact of years of conflict, without access to schools, basic health care, and clean water. In Southern Sudan, one out of every seven children dies before their fifth birthday. Only about 10% of children are fully vaccinated, and less than 50% of all children receive five years of primary education.

"In all my ten years with UNICEF," Martin said, "I have never found its work more necessary than in Southern Sudan, or seen it saving lives in such difficult and demanding circumstances. Southern Sudan is in a time of transition, with great opportunities and great dangers ahead."

He added: "The new country’s future lies in its children and UNICEF is concentrating its efforts on changing their lives for the better."

Watch Martin's exclusive video report from South Sudan, or read the full account of his trip at the Mail on Sunday website

Click here to find out more about Martin Bell's work for UNICEF.

 
Flora Anthony, 18, speaks with UNICEF Ambassadors Martin Bell and Mia Farrow about returning to Southern Sudan ahead of separation © Veronique de Viguerie/Reportage by Getty Images for UNICEF
Flora Anthony, 18, speaks with UNICEF Ambassadors Martin Bell and Mia Farrow about returning to Southern Sudan ahead of separation. © Veronique de Viguerie/Reportage by Getty Images for UNICEF
A young girl in Western Equatoria rests on her bicycle and proudly shows off her "new Sudan" sticke © Veronique de Viguerie/Reportage by Getty Images for UNICEF
A young girl in Western Equatoria rests on her bicycle. © Veronique de Viguerie/Reportage by Getty Images for UNICEF