Senior military officers in Jonglei State recommit to end violations of children’s rights
Senior officials of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition’s Infantry Division 7 in Jonglei State have reiterated their commitment to stop violating the rights of children in their area of responsibility.
“We will preach the content of this plan like the holy Bible within our forces,” said Major General William Nyuot Dieu, Commander of the division, referring to the comprehensive action plan signed by the national army and opposition forces in February last year in a bid to put an end to persistent negligence to protect children’s rights .
The Major General made his pledge after participating in a training organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to raise awareness about the so called six grave violations of children’s rights in armed conflict and post-conflict contexts: 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 workshop took place in Mogok district in Jonglei’s Ayod County.
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.
“It [the action plan] is like a code of conduct when it comes to child protection. It is well done, and we will observe all the protocols it entails,” said William Nyuot, Caretaking County Commissioner of Ayod.
One step in the right direction was taken in September last year, when Jonglei State formed a technical committee, comprising the signatories of the plan, to oversee its practical implementation.
John Chol, a child protection officer serving with the peacekeeping mission, reaffirmed the world body’s commitment to continue to support the government in the process.