Western Equatoria State forms a committee to protect children from being recruited into armed groups

Oct 17, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — Western Equatoria State engaged in a three-days forum and formed a committee that will implement the comprehensive action plan to end and prevent grave violations against children in Western Equatoria State.

UNMISS facilitating workshop that forms a special committee in Western Equatoria State to prevent child exploitation(Photo credit: courtesy image/UNMISS)

According to a report that was shared by UNMISS, the participants learnt about the violation of children’s rights in a conflict.

“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,” read the statement.

The residents appreciate the three-days’ workshop saying it was an informative surprise for some of them.

“Over the last three days, we have been trained on how to raise awareness among community leaders and army commanders in the barracks to not recruit children to armed groups and to release those who have already been recruited,” says social worker Veronica Annie Michael, the newly elected co-chair of the State Technical Committee.

“Learning about these kinds of violations of children’s rights has been a real eye opener. It is a wake-up call for me to take these things seriously within my unit, and to teach my fellow commanders about these issues as well,” says Commander Brigadier Karlos Philip, representing the Sudan’s People Liberation Army in Opposition.

The report said that toward the end of the workshop, some plans had already been achieved by adopting the comprehensive action plan to stamp out violations of the rights of these children.

“Establishing the State Technical Committee means that we are turning words into action. Children must be properly protected and not harmed by being used by armed forces,” says Christopher Murenga, head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Western Equatoria State.

The report went on to say that the action plan is a road map on how to clear the name of South Sudan from the list.

The committee is composed of representatives from, among others, the parties to the revitalized peace agreement, 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 task force responsible for monitoring and reporting on violations of children’s rights.

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