UN expert on child rights calls for protection of minors

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, briefed the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee about the situation of conflict affecting children in South Sudan.

According to a statement seen by The City Review on Thursday, Gamba highlighted the importance of the full implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCRSS).

She emphasized the implementation of the comprehensive action plan to end all grave violations against children.

Members of the committee applauded Gamba for her briefing and expressed their support for her work.

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On 13, October 2023, the South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Commission (DDR) said the United Nations still maintains the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) on its blacklist due to ongoing child recruitment within the army.

The revelation was made during the launch of a two-day workshop on child protection, organised jointly by the commission and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Torit, Eastern Equatoria State.

The international community recognizes the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OPAC), which prohibits the conscription of children under the age of 18 into the military. Despite these international norms, thousands of children continue to be involved in active armed conflicts in various African and Middle Eastern nations.

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According to the South Sudan country office of World Vision, it was estimated that between 7,000 and 19,000 child soldiers were present in South Sudan as of February 2021.

However, Maj. General Lul Ruai Koang, the SSPDF spokesperson, noted that he will first share the accusations made with the director of child protection.

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