On 17 November, Leila Zerrougui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, arrived in Kinshasa for a seven-day mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In the capital, she met with members of the Government and UN partners to assess the situation of children affected by armed conflict, and to review progress in the implementation of the Action Plan signed in October 2012 by the Government of the DRC to end and prevent recruitment and use of children by national security forces, as well as sexual violence.

“Child recruitment has plagued the East of the country for too long. The surrender of the M23 and other armed groups brings with it the responsibility to help children reunite with their families, go back to school and aspire to a better future. The citizens of the DRC are asking for peace and I call on all armed groups to immediately lay down their arms and release children in their ranks,” declared the Special Representative.