South Sudan Gov’t takes tough stand on child soldiers

By Bida Elly David

South Sudan government, with partners, has laid a strategy to screen the army to sideline child soldiers and to end forceful recruitment.

Acting Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Deng Dau Deng disclosed on Wednesday, after returning from a global conference on the protection of children in armed conflict held in Norway.

The minister told journalists upon touchdown at Juba International Airport that the conference discussed the dangers of forceful recruitment of children into the army, depriving them of their rights to education.

He stated that the government is going to conduct a comprehensive assessment aimed at excommunicating child soldiers within the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF).

The demobilization will also include children in other organized forces, as well as beef crimes of abduction, and reunite victims with their families.

“We specifically looked at issues of child soldiers, of which the government has removed all the children that are either associated with the army or civil network to become soldiers,” he said.

He further said the government, within its capacity, is also working towards ending child abduction, which is one of the practices detected by some communities across the country.

“We are addressing the issue of child abduction, which is a very small issue also being addressed by one of the states and counties in South Sudan and returning those children to school,” he added.

Minister Deng noted that the government has not only prioritized ending the abduction and exclusion of child soldiers from the army but also rendering them protection and education services.

“The government has come up with an action plan that outlines the protection of children as well as returning them to school as the president declared free education,” he said.

According to the minister, the conference also discussed efforts of the South Sudan government towards disarming civilians, particularly children in uniforms and holding guns, to mitigate insecurity, he said.

He said challenges of poverty in families, land slides and flooding due to climate change, were pointed as some of the factors affecting progress of most children in South Sudan, especially access to education.

He noted that the government of South Sudan will continue working towards protecting the rights of children in conflict-affected areas as well as prioritizing their education.


Comments are closed.