UNMISS and local authorities in Lakes raise awareness on child protection mechanisms

unmiss south sudan lakes state rumbek child protection paramount chiefs traditional leaders peace

Traditional leaders from five counties in Lakes State have been learning more about how to better prevent and report violations of children. Photo: James Mawien Manyuol/UNMISS

23 Nov 2022

UNMISS and local authorities in Lakes raise awareness on child protection mechanisms

James Mawien Manyuol

Violations of children’s right are commonplace in South Sudan, and Lakes State is no exception. With this in mind, the United Nations Mission in the country joined forces with local authorities to raise awareness on related issued.

“We have reflected on and questioned our views on families and family values. We realize that some of our cultural practices can cause children harm. These insights give us as chiefs a chance to influence behaviours among community members,” said Mathiang Dut Malual, a Paramount Chief and one of 50 traditional leaders from across the state participating in a two-day workshop.

The objective of the gathering was to discuss how to better prevent, monitor and report violations of children living in a context of conflict. Attendees agreed that perpetrators of such acts must be held accountable.

“Chiefs have a responsibility for the welfare of women and children in our communities, and my government will not accept any acts that prevent children, both boys and girls, from going to school. It has also been noted that teachers are sometimes causing early pregnancies. I ask you to report them, because we will deal with them,” said General Rin Tueny Mabor, Governor of Lakes State.

Alfred Orono Orono, chief of the peacekeeping mission’s Child Protection Unit, commended the frank discussions held and the commitment displayed by workshop participants, but insisted that something else and bigger must be achieved to make real progress in terms of child protection.

“Peace is the foundation of order and development. Once there is peace, the rest will follow and issues of child abductions and intercommunal conflicts will become things of the past,” he said.