Military and police officers in Rumbek learn to uphold child rights

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South Sudanese police and military officers pledge to uphold child rights at an UNMISS workshop on protecting children against grave violations. Photo by James Mawien Manyuol/UNMISS.

11 Dec 2023

Military and police officers in Rumbek learn to uphold child rights

James Mawien Manyuol

LAKES – Ongoing conflict in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, has led to untold suffering for women and children.

For its part, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) protecting children is a top priority.

Recently in Rumbek, the UN Peacekeeping mission’s Child Protection Unit hosted a two-day workshop for officers from the South Sudan People's Defence Forces (SSPDF) and National Police Service (SSNPS) on child rights and ways to prevent and end grave violations against them.

These abuses vary between 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.

Some 50 South Sudanese military and police officers from Amokpiny payam [administrative division] attended the training.

“We are grateful for this induction from our partner in building peace, UNMISS. It has really helped us understand better how to protect vulnerable citizens, especially children, during conflict,” said First Lieutenant Deng Aciec Deng.

Joseph Mahuom, another participant agreed.

“The sessions were interesting and allowed us to learn more on upholding children’s rights and safeguard educational institutions while performing our duties,” he averred.

Sergeant Deng Deng Wol, another trainee, highly appreciated the initiative, vowing that he would trickle down the knowledge gained to colleagues who were unable to attend this interactive forum.

Jonah Marier, a Child Protection Programme Assistant at the Mission’s Rumbek Field Office, pointed out that the key part of the Comprehensive Action Plan, signed in 2020, is that everybody shoulders collective responsibility to keep children safe and put a stop to any violation of their rights.

“Officers pledged to help implement the Action Plan signed in 2020 and do their best to secure vulnerable minors along the border between Lakes and Unity states.”

UNMISS Child Protection regularly conducts similar sensitizations for national police and all uniformed personnel in military barracks and cantonment sites across the country.