South Sudan

UNMISS supports formation of Jonglei State committee to end grave violations against children

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MACH SAMUEL

A technical committee has been formed in Bor to implement the comprehensive action plan to end and prevent grave violations against children in Jonglei State.

“I would like to encourage UNMISS to continue supporting the formation of the state level committees in all the states of South Sudan. I know that without the technical expertise and logistical support they have provided, we wouldn’t have arrived here to establish the Jonglei committee today,” said the chairperson of the new technical committee, John Chol.

The six grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict to be dealt with by the new committee consist of the recruitment and use of children, killing and maiming, sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals, abductions and the denial of humanitarian access to children in need.

The committee’s work will continue until the action plan, signed by the parties to the revitalized peace agreement on 7 February, is fully implemented.

An added bonus of eradicating grave violations in the country would be the removal of both the South Sudanese army and the armed branch of the main opposition group from the so called “list of shame”. This list, part of the UN Secretary-General’s reports on the situation of children in armed conflict, contains national armies and other military groups known to violate one or more of the six grave violations.

Some progress towards this end has already been achieved: by adopting the comprehensive action plan to stamp out violations of the rights of these children, both the South Sudan’s People Defense Forces and the main opposition force have been moved from Annex A to Annex B, which lists armed groups who have taken significant steps to address these problems.

Gilbert Natsa, a representative of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Bor, reiterated that the United Nations Mission in South Sudan will continue to support the hard work needed to offer all children adequate protection against violations.

“We want South Sudan to be out of that list of shame and that is why it is very important for us, through our Child Protection Unit, to assist you in any way possible,” he said.

The state technical committee was formed during a three-day-long workshop facilitated by the peacekeeping mission and attended by relevant stakeholders.

The committee is composed of representatives from, among others, the parties involved in turning the words of the action plan into reality, line ministries of the transitional government of national unity, the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and members of the country taskforce responsible for monitoring and reporting on such violations of children’s rights.