Never abduct children, says UNMISS SRSG

26 Sep 2012

Never abduct children, says UNMISS SRSG

25 September 2012 – Speaking against the abduction of children in Jonglei State, UNMISS chief Hilde F. Johnson said today in the capital Bor that children were among the most vulnerable people and must be protected.

"Never abduct them, never take them out of their family of origin ... they deserve to be with their families where they are safe and all children that have been abducted should be returned to their families," said Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) Johnson, who was on a two-day visit to the state.

Ms. Johnson said UNMISS would help any families tracing their children, together with other partners like UNICEF, Save the Children and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Her remarks followed the 20 September launch of a UNMISS Jonglei radio campaign against child abduction.

Designed by the mission's Child Protection and Public Information units, the campaign plans to air daily radio messages by stakeholders, interviews and talk shows on Radio Miraya and Jonglei Radio over a period of two months.

"The campaign aims to inform and educate the population about the dangers posed by abduction of children, especially in the context of fragile peace and volatile situation currently in parts of the state," said UNMISS Child Protection Officer Ephraim Abwe Diabe.

About 50 abducted women and children have been recovered from different parts of the state through the combined efforts of these organizations and the State Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare since August 2012, according to UNMISS Child Protection Unit. Among those recovered, 15 have been reunited with their biological families.

In a meeting with Ms. Johnson, Jonglei Governor Kuol Manyang Juuk said security in the state had improved since the civilian disarmament programme was launched in March and the "All-Jonglei Peace Resolutions" was signed in May.

But Mr. Juuk said the state government remained concerned about the Likuangole area, where an armed insurgency group linked to the militia leader David Yau Yau was engaged in criminal activity.

In August, UNMISS reinforced its peacekeeping strength in Likuangole, and was working with civilian authorities as well as the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to help reduce tensions and protect civilians. The mission was also backing a series of confidence-building measures led by Jonglei and assisting with the overall state peace process.