On 9 July, the Republic of South Sudan became independent from the north, as part of a referendum and peace agreemeent to end the twenty-year-long war between the two regions, which has claimed over two million lives.

"[This] is a historic day for the children and people of South Sudan," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. "After years of conflict, a new country is emerging, with new hope for a more peaceful and prosperous future for all its citizens."

He added: "Four million children – fifty per cent of the total population – will be part of this new nation. We must all do our part to help this independence generation survive and thrive."

Even in the absence of conflict, the children of South Sudan face significant challenges. Millions of children have no access to schools, basic health care, vaccination programmes or clean water. Many are still displaced and at risk.  

UNICEF has operated in Sudan for almost 60 years, through decades of conflict, and we are one of the longest-operating organisations working for children across every state in the South. 

"UNICEF is committed to supporting the government of the Republic of South Sudan as it works to protect the rights and improve the lives of all its children," Lake said. "Tomorrow, children who have known only war will now have a chance to know peace. We must not fail them.”

Please support UNICEF's appeal for the children of South Sudan.

 
A girl, whose face and hair are flecked with dust, leans on a tree in a camp for returnees, in the town of Agok in Southern Sudan, near the contested border area of Abyei. People who have fled recent clashes in the Abyei area are now also living in Agok. © UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0455/ Veronique de Viguerie
A girl, whose face and hair are flecked with dust, leans on a tree in a camp for returnees, in the town of Agok in Southern Sudan, near the contested border area of Abyei. People who have fled recent clashes in the Abyei area are now also living in Agok.© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-0455/ Veronique de Viguerie