Renewed commitment to protect children in conflict in northern Liech
A total of 32 representatives from government and opposition forces operating in the Greater Upper Nile region have reiterated their commitment to stop recruiting boys and girls under the age of 18 and to release any children found in their ranks.
“Our working group agreed to release all remaining children in our forces and to establish disciplinary measures for anyone who abuses our women and girls, “said Captain Maker Machar from the South Sudan Alliance in Opposition, when he presented the resolutions reached during discussions with his military peers from government and opposition forces.
Apart from evidence of both government and opposition forces having used and recruited children, they are also listed by the UN for having committed several other grave violations of the rights of children in conflict, including abductions of children, sexual and other kinds of violence and occupation of public properties like schools and hospitals. Both parties have, however, signed various agreements to put an end to unlawful practices.
The Head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s field office in Bentiu, Hiroko Hirahara, was pleased with the joint pledges to cooperate to protect the rights of children.
“All these resolutions are very important, and the UN will stand with you to provide any technical support you may need. This workshop is not the end, but the starting point of our collaboration,” she said.
Brigadier General Adong Kuol, who oversees the government army in the Northern Liech area, admitted to the wrongdoings of the past and promised amends.
“During the war, we killed our own kids, but the conflict is over, and we should no longer violate the rights of children,” he said.