By Akol Madut Ngong
South Sudan government has yesterday launched the national plan of action for children. During the launching, the National Minister of Labour James Hoth Mai implored the importance of collaborative effort to improve child right in the country.
The Minister called on development partners to complement government institutions so that children’s issues may be well addressed. “Working as a team for the protection of children is very important; we cannot do it alone; if we can work as a team; the concerned institution together with development partners and civil society organizations, have to be implemented; it is our responsibility, all of us should implement it not just to be left as a paper,” he said.
However, Minister Hoth said the national plan of action is aligned to the labour Act 2017. Hoth noted that the Ministry of Labour has a big chapter talking about children, which included child Act 2008, national police guidelines 2015 and SPLA Act that is talking seriously about children’s rights.
He stated that, it is the responsibility of the government to protect children, and fulfill their rights by adopting the international legal framework like United Nations Convention on the rights of children and other relevant instruments like this national plan of action.
Nevertheless, the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Ayaa commended that from 2008 to date, the government has achieved a number of child acts which included; child act 2008, a national policy for children without appropriate parental care, child protection policy, education policy, and the application of UN convention on the rights of children.
The Minister said that, it is the responsibility of the government to provide holistic and comprehensive coordinated approach to address the diverse needs of the children.
“Looking at the current institutional policy, despite all the legal and policy frameworks we developed, we still have a long way to go, to make South Sudan a better place for children. The next step is to develop the action plan,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Country Director of Save the Children, Mr. Muzambil Sebi said the document which was launched gives detailed steps that government and partners should take. He stated that, as a child focusing organization, they will ensure that they narrow the gap that affects the development, survival, protection and participation of children in South Sudan.
He said that, the document has underlined the rights of every child to enjoy, and to get the root causes that affect the health growth and wellbeing of the children. He further said that the objectives of the national plan of action for children are in line with the Save the Children International’s mission and vision.
“As Save the Children International, we work to ensure that children have access to education, protection and stay healthy in collaboration with our partners especially the government. The national plan of action 2020/2024 takes in account the priority for children,” he said.
Further, the Chairperson of Human Rights Commission, Benny Gideon said, the national Act for children is timely and very important because it tells the people what need to happen and to make sure that rights of children are respected.
The Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission in the country stressed that, the action plan focusses more on four issues which South Sudan should adopt, which include; child and adolescence, health nutrition, pre-school and basic education, and child participation.
Mr. Gideon appealed to the government to stop fighting. “We must stop violence and embrace peace and stability, so that children are either not killed or live a miserable life; this is paramount so that children fully have the right to live and education development,” he argued.
He stated that, providing legal framework to the provision of child Act as well as the regional and international instruments related to the rights and welfare of children are clearly articulated beautiful position that, if implemented will build the condition of children in South Sudan. “It is government commitment to build an environment that promotes, respects, protects and observes the right of the children in a challenging situation in the remote areas of the country, on how best they can be safe, and given access to education, health and protection,” he said.