New- York – The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, welcomes the accession of South Sudan to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. South Sudan becomes the 195th State to ratify the CRC, which has almost universal ratification.
“I welcome the ratification of the CRC by South Sudan but I also urge the authorities to uphold their responsibilities in protecting children’s rights” said Leila Zerrougui. As described in the Secretary-General’s recent report on children and armed conflict in South Sudan (http://www.un.org/ga/view_doc/2014/884), the current conflict in South Sudan has had a devastating impact on children who have been killed and maimed by hundreds, recruited and used by thousands, raped and abducted. Their schools have been attacked affecting access to education for dozens of thousands of children.
Leila Zerrougui calls on South Sudan to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC) that sets 18 as the minimum age for recruitment by state armed forces. Additionally, the SRSG calls on the government to implement its Action Plan with the UN and the recommitment agreement of June 2014 covering all violations against children.
Note to editors:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989 and entered into force on 2 September 1990, defines a child as any person under the age of 18, and sets out the child’s right to life, to health, to education and to be protected from violence, amongst other.
South Sudan is one of seven countries involved in the Campaign “Children Not Soldiers”, launched by the Special Representative and UNICEF to end the recruitment and use of children by Government forces by the end of 2016.