South Sudan

Children and armed conflict in South Sudan - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2020/1205) [EN/AR]

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Summary  

The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions on children and armed conflict, is the third report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in South Sudan. It contains information on the six grave violations against children1 and, more broadly, on the situation of children affected by armed conflict in South Sudan during the period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020.   

Highlighted herein are continued trends and patterns of grave violations committed against children by all parties to the conflict. Children were recruited to boost the numbers of armed groups in anticipation of the reintegration process, and the emergence of new armed groups and the disintegration or splintering of existing groups increased children’s vulnerability to grave violations. The report presents the evolution in the situation since the previous report (S/2018/865), the progress made in ending and preventing violations, and the follow-up of the conclusions adopted by the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (S/AC.51/2018/3). Lastly, the report contains a series of recommendations to end and prevent grave violations against children in South Sudan and to improve their protection.

I. Introduction

1 . The present report, submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions on children and armed conflict, is the third report of the Secretary-General on the situation of children affected by armed conflict in South Sudan. It covers the period from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2020. The report provides an overview of political and security developments, describes the trends and patterns of grave violations perpetrated against children since the previous report (S/2018/865), and presents challenges and progress made with regard to improving the situation of children since the adoption of the conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in December 2018 (S/AC.51/2018/3). Perpetrators of grave violations are, where possible, identified in the present report. In that regard, in the annexes to the most recent report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/74/845-S/2020/525), both the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, including the Taban Deng-allied South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition – pro-Machar (SPLM/A-IO2 ) were listed for the recruitment and use, killing and maiming, and abduction of children. The South Sudan People’s Defence Forces was also listed for rape and other forms of sexual violence, and attacks on schools and hospitals.

2 . Violations against children continued throughout the reporting period. In particular, children were recruited to boost the numbers of armed groups in anticipation of the reintegration process. In addition, the emergence of new armed groups and the disintegration or splintering of existing ones increased children’s vulnerability to grave violations.

II. Overview of political and security developments   

A. 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019   

3 . Despite the pledges for a permanent ceasefire contained in the June 2018 Khartoum Declaration of Agreement between Parties of the Conflict of South Sudan signed by the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, the Chairman of SPLM/A-IO, Riek Machar, and representatives of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), SPLM Former Detainees and the Other Political Parties coalition, the conflict continued in parts of South Sudan as parties to the conflict pursued territorial control. Several reports were received of fighting between the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces and armed groups, and among armed groups. For instance, clashes between the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces and SPLA-IO were recorded in Mayendit county, Unity state; between the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces and the National Salvation Army (NAS) in Equatoria; and between the South Sudan National Movement for Change (SSNMC) and SPLA-IO in Central Equatoria state. The fighting resulted in the recruitment and use, killing and maiming, and abduction of children.

4 . Several rounds of the mediation process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development were undertaken and, on 12 September 2018, in Addis Ababa, South Sudanese parties to the conflict signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. One of the key provisions of the Revitalized Agreement is the requirement for all parties to the Agreement to refrain from the recruitment and use of children in contravention of international conventions.