Over 100 children released by armed groups in South Sudan

November 2, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Sebastian Rich

 

By

Peter Louis

Armed groups in South Sudan last week released a total of 145 children. This is the largest number of children freed since 2015, when 1,775 children were released in the Greater Pibor Administrative Area.

“Our hope is that (this) release will be followed by many others so that the 16,000 children who are still in armed forces and armed groups will be able to return to their families,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan.

During their release from the Cobra Faction and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, SPLA in Opposition, the children were formally disarmed and provided with civilian clothes. Medical screenings were carried out and the children were registered for a reintegration programme.

Over the coming months, all released children will receive counselling and psychosocial support. They will be placed in an interim care centre, until their families can be traced. Following their reunification, the children’s families will be provided with three months’ worth of food assistance as a take-home package as well as livestock to supplement household income during the reintegration process.

“Children in South Sudan need safety, protection and opportunities,” said Mdoe. “Our priority is to get them into school and to provide services to communities so the children are able to see a more promising future.

“With the on-going fighting across the country, UNICEF continues to receive reports about the recruitment of children in Unity, Jonglei and other states. We urge all parties to abide by international law, to end recruitment and to release children who are currently serving in their ranks.”

Armed forces and armed groups in South Sudan have recruited an estimated 16,000 children since the onset of fighting that began in December 2013. More than 800 children are estimates to have been recruited since the beginning of 2016.

The UN Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, has been working with the Government of South Sudan’s National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (NDDRC) to secure the release and reintegration of children associated with armed forces and armed groups and to provide the children with livelihood and education opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15813e5

Peter Louis

Peter Louis works as a freelance Videographer and Journalist in the Republic of South Sudan. He previously worked for Ebony TV, South Sudan Radio and South Sudan TV, Wau.

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply