UNMISS collaborates with the State Committee for Child Protection in Eastern Equatoria to train uniformed personnel on violations against children
As part of professionalizing South Sudan’s army, plans for a massive sensitization campaign aimed at uniformed personnel from the government and opposition forces, are underway in Eastern Equatoria.
The campaign has one main aim: for South Sudan to clear its name from the list of countries in the world with a record of human rights violations, especially the six grave violations against children.
The Child Protection Section of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has taken a step to ensure that an Action Plan to end the violations is implemented in Eastern Equatoria state through a joint team to move and sensitize forces their respective areas.
“The national high-level ministerial committee agreed to extend the Action Plan. This means th that we are to start working very actively visiting all the cantonment sites and barracks,” said Alfred Orono Orono, Chief, Child Protection, UNMISS.
Poor records of human rights violations have cost this young nation many privileges, including international support through donations of military equipment, professional trainings outside the country, and the right to contribute troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
“We have numerous activities planned, not just in Eastern Equatoria, but across the country to ensure children are fully protected and South Sudan is de-listed; but the most important thing is that there should be a sustainable peace,” added Mr. Orono Orono.
The Eastern Equatoria State Technical Committee, which was formed last year, comprises of representatives from State Child Disarmament and Demobilization offices, the South Sudan People’s Defense Force, the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-iO); the Committee will be the lynchpin of this sensitization drive.
“It’s incumbent upon us, as the representatives of the forces, to engage in this awareness-raising drive and ensure no child recruitment in our cantonment sites, military camps and barracks,” said Colonel Avare Boutros, a Child Protection Officer from the South Sudan Opposition Alliance.
The budget for this large-scale sensitization programme is yet to be approved but all concerned actors are fully on board with this important agenda.
“We need to start the work even without the approved budget to support our children, and to ensure South Sudan is removed from the list of human rights violators as soon as possible,” stated Oringa John Baptist, Child Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration Officer (CDDR) in Eastern Equatoria.
The six grave violations against children’s rights include killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children as soldiers, sexual violence, abduction, attacks against schools and hospitals and the denial of humanitarian acce