Crackdown on Yambio teenagers monitored by UNMISS child protection officers
Child protection officers are closely monitoring a new order issued to police by local authorities in Yambio to tackle underage drinking and nightclubbing to ensure that young people are treated appropriately if arrested and prosecuted.
The Yambio Mayor and council have instructed police to take action after reports of an increase in the number of teenagers going to nightclubs and parties, drinking alcohol and taking illegal substances. This is reportedly affecting attendance rates at local schools and there is concern about the safety of young people out at night in an area where there is a high risk of criminal activity.
“I have received a number of reports and complaints from the community in Yambio about how the teenagers are going to discos at night and misbehaving, said Mayor Singira Robert. “As a municipal council, we have therefore taken measures to stop this behavior.”
While the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) will not become directly involved in the process, which is driven by local authorities, it will monitor the cases of any children arrested.
UNMISS child protection officer, Moses Bagari, said that his team and officers from the human rights division will visit the police station to see if any children are detained as a result of the local order. The unit is also working to find out what the penalties might be for young people arrested for drinking alcohol or being in a nightclub while underage.
The Mayor says that teenagers are renting houses as groups so they can avoid parental scrutiny by staying there overnight while attending nightclubs. He cited an incident where 16 teenagers arrested in a nightclub in Yambio were found with school uniforms in their bags.
Police and security forces have been instructed to monitor the activity of children in the town at night and either take them back to their homes or arrest them. A series of meetings are also being held with local nightclub owners to reinforce their responsibility in keeping minors off the premises.