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Sudan, S. Sudan Catholic Bishops launch child and vulnerable safeguarding policy 

By Emelda Siama John Lopula

Sudan and South Sudan Catholic Bishops conference yesterday launched child and vulnerable Adults safeguarding policy themed “every child matters we protect.”

Speaking while addressing the clergies and Bishop during the conference in Kit, Rejaf East, the national coordinator for Justice and peace of the Sudan and South Sudan Catholic bishops conference, Jim Long John said, South Sudan is one among many countries which has gone wrong on children due to war and they feel that children must be safe and guarded toward peaceful future.

“We, in the conference believe that every child and vulnerable adults has the right to be safe and protected and we stand to defend the rights of the disadvantaged group as well,” said Long.

He stated that the purpose of the document is to provide management strategy to prevent child abuse and to protect children as well as vulnerable adults in the course of work.

It also aims to protect conference staff and partners from unfair practices, and also provide conference staff and partners with clear guidelines in case of suspected child abuse.

“Our principal values on child safeguarding policy reflects zero tolerance of children abuse, recognition of children interest, sharing responsibility of child protection,” he cited.

The Diocesan Education Coordinator Catholic Diocese of Yei south, Padre Dr. Pololo Ndeke said that the appeal makes the awareness that child safeguarding is a live long process that involves the family, the churches, institutions and the government.

“According to statistics from UNICEF from the year 2022, Sudan has 21 million children under the age of 19 out of all 6.9 are out of schools, meanwhile South Sudan has a population of 4million children out of all 2.8 are out of schools for various reasons hence majority of them were victims of different types of abuses, some of these abuses are due to cultural views, physical, psychological, emotional, and sexual abuses,” Ndeke said.

He stated that the abuses include child trafficking, child soldiers’ recruitment, child labor, drug abuse, forced marriage, and majority of children were girls who are most vulnerable and most of them are school’s dropout.  

“The church has come in with the principle to step in the situation which our children are facing, we have come here to deliberate so that we harmonize our policies to raise the children who are suffering, we have serials of examples that we shared street children, and children in the mining areas, how do we reach to the grassroots,” he said.

For his part the Coordinator of Association of Members of Peace Conference in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) Pastoral Department from Nairobi-Kenya, Rev. Emmanuel Chimombo said AMECEA is a composition of 9 countries; Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia meanwhile Djibouti and Somalia are members and AMECEA was establish in 1964 in Nairobi-Kenya.   

“Our policy is to ensure that all children are protected, to ensure that the church staff are protected and the church institution is protected,” he said.

Meanwhile the archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Juba Stephen Ameyu Martin Mulla said the church condemns the people who violate the right of a child and the rights of vulnerable people and the church will always distance from that act.

“The abuse of children is present in our cultural life, the reality of child abuses we saw it in western Europe, many children suffered in the hands of religious people and some parts of Africa, that is why the church has taken the priority to safeguard the children as Jesus said led the children come to me,” Bishop Ameyu said.   

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