UNMISS forum builds capacities on child protection among relevant stakeholders

unmiss child protection child rights peace peacekeeping south sudan peacekeepers juba united nations eastern equatoria

A two-day forum hosted by UNMISS sought to build capacities among some 40 participants, including civil society, on protecting the rights of every child. Photo by Surur Ali Ayile/UNMISS

28 May 2024

UNMISS forum builds capacities on child protection among relevant stakeholders

Surur Ali Ayile

CENTRAL EQUATORIA – A two-day workshop hosted by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) aimed to build capacities on preventing, monitoring, and reporting on the six grave violations of child rights in conflict situations.

These consist of 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.

More than 40 participants from local and international civil society organizations and other child protection actors in Juba, discussed ways and means to protect children as well as their own vital roles in this regard.

“We hope that the topics discussed at the forum have helped all participants to understand critical issues and be empowered to ensure that the rights of every child are upheld across the country,” said Kweku Adoah, a Child Protection Officer with the UN Peacekeeping mission.

For his part as well, Major General Chaplain Khamis, Director of Child Protection for the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) emphasized the collective role every South Sudanese must play to ensure children have a brighter future.

“The duty of protecting children in our country lies in the hands of every citizen but importantly in the hands of everybody who is a part of the Comprehensive Action Plan,” he stated.

The Action Plan, signed in February 2020, is the roadmap towards stopping such egregious offences.

Oluku Andrew, the National Coordinator of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission agreed.

“The information exchange in these two days has been extremely useful and will help all of us ensure that we are all on the same page about not recruiting minors into uniformed ranks,” he stated.  

Nora Edward, Executive Director of Girl Child Africa Foundation, a civil society organization, believes such initiatives and capacity building will go a long way in upholding not only child rights but human rights overall in the country.

“We have learnt why we are listed among the countries who are not respecting the right of the children. If we recruit children into armed ranks, we are destroying our own future,” she said passionately.

The long-term objective when it comes to such advocacy is to protect and prevent the occurrence of grave violations against children perpetrated by armed forces and groups. This would ensure that South Sudanese armed groups will, finally, be removed from what is known as the ‘list of shame.’ The list being referred to is part of the UN Secretary-General’s report on the situation of children in armed conflict and contains national armies and other military groups known to violate one or more of the six grave violations.

“As UNMISS, we remain committed to supporting all stakeholders to implement the Comprehensive Action Plan in letter and spirit by providing technical support and such capacity-building initiatives,” stated Patricia Njoroge, Head of the UNMISS Child Protection Unit.