UNICEF hails release of children by armed groups in South Sudan

UNICEF on Friday welcomed the release of seven children by armed groups in South Sudan.

UNICEF Representative in South Sudan Hamida Lasseko said in a statement issued in Juba, capital of South Sudan, that the boys ranging from 13 to 17 years of age were released in Lakes State Tuesday.

“This is an opportunity for everyone across the country to work together to ensure that all children who are in the barracks are released,” she added.

The recruitment and use of children are prohibited by the domestic legislation and international treaties that the country has signed, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols.

The release of the children, which was supported by UNICEF, UN mission, and the government, comes a few months after South Sudan extended the implementation period for the Comprehensive Action Plan to end all six grave violations against children up to August 7, 2022, which is a positive indicator of its determination to fulfill its commitment to protecting all children from the effects of armed conflict.

The Comprehensive Action Plan was signed in February 2020 and is the most comprehensive plan signed globally since the creation within the UN of the Children and Armed Conflict mandate.

To date, two national and 11 state-level action plan implementation committees have been established with the support of UNICEF and UNMISS.

Meanwhile, UNICEF said child protection partners have begun case management processes to ensure that all seven children are reunified with their families in the shortest time possible so that other components of social reintegration can be conducted while the children are settled at home. The UN agency added that it’s mobilizing resources to provide livelihood and economic reintegration for these seven children in the coming months.

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