The United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, is encouraged by the release of 210 children, including three girls, from parties to conflict in South Sudan, bringing the total of released children to more than 800 in the country since the beginning of the year.
“This release is the result of sustained advocacy by the United Nations and the international community. I call on all parties in South Sudan to release all children from their ranks and to work closely with the United Nations to commit to and implement Action Plans to end and prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers,” Ms. Gamba said.
The boys and girls were released from the ranks of the pro-Taban Deng Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM-IO) and the National Salvation Front (NSF) and their release was formalized yesterday in Pibor, eastern South Sudan.
More than 300 children were released in February and more than 200 in April, and additional releases are expected to take place this year.
Initial reintegration will be provided by UNICEF to the children and their families; this includes food assistance, education and vocational training aimed at providing livelihood to the whole household.
“These boys and girls are finally allowed to be children again; but their release is just the first step of a long reintegration process. These children deserve support for their recovery; I call on the international community to provide the necessary resources to sustainable reintegration efforts,” she added.
The United Nations have signed an Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition.
More information: https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/south-sudan
Read the press release issued by UNICEF on the release of children in South Sudan