UN Special Envoy for children and armed conflict deplores recruitment of children into armed ranks in South Sudan
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict is ‘saddened’ and ‘disappointed’ by the continued recruitment of children into armed ranks in South Sudan.
In an exclusive interview with the Radio Miraya, Leila Zerrougui said the eruption of violence in July saw recruitment and maiming of children just as the people of South Sudan were starting to rebuild their lives.
Ms Zerrougui stressed there is no future for South Sudan if the children, who are the majority of the population continue to be targeted, prevented from going to school and used to fight and kill.
UN Children’s agency, UNICEF says the number of children used in armed conflict since December 2013 stands at 17,000.
Special Representative Zerrougui said her office will continue to document and report cases of child recruitment for action.
She said the government must do more to ensure all mechanisms are in place to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in war.
The Government of South Sudan, with the support of the United Nations, in 2014 launched the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign, marking the country’s renewed commitment to end the recruitment and use of children by its army.
The campaign, an initiative of the Special Representative, aims to galvanize support to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by national security forces in conflict.
South Sudan is one of 8 countries concerned by the campaign. The others are Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, and Yemen.
All the countries have signed action plans with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children.
You can listen to the full seven-minute interview with Special Envoy Zerrougui here