New York, 15 November – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, will travel to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assess the situation of children affected by armed conflict and the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan signed by the Government to end the recruitment and use of children by the Congolese armed forces.
The Special Representative will travel to Kinshasa on 17 November to meet with Congolese government authorities, the diplomatic community as well as Monusco, UNICEF, the UN country team and NGO partners.
On 20 November, Ms. Zerrougui is scheduled to travel to eastern DRC for a celebration of Universal Children’s Day in Goma.
Assessing Progress made in DRC since the signature of the action plan
In October 2012, the Government of DRC signed an action plan with the United Nations detailing concrete, time-bound measures to release and reintegrate children associated with the Congolese armed forces and to prevent further recruitment. The action plan also includes provisions to protect girls and boys from sexual violence.
Ms. Zerrougui welcomes the recent announcement by President Joseph Kabila that he will appoint a Presidential Representative on Sexual Violence and Child Recruitment and looks forward to the appointment.
A report published by MONUSCO in October indicates that child recruitment by numerous armed groups remains endemic in eastern Congo. In a statement issued on 14 November, the President of the Security Council asked all parties to the conflict to stop recruitment and use of children and to the DRC authorities to pursue the full implementation of the Action Plan.
The end of the M23 rebellion presents a new opportunity in the political process of stabilisation in the East. It is crucial to ensure that children’s needs and protection concerns receive specific attention.
In her meetings with the authorities the Special Representative will assess the progress and remaining challenges to better protect children and discuss ways to further support efforts to end violations against children.
Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
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