Implementing changes, both of attitudes and behaviour, takes time. After several years of conducting awareness-raising workshops involving thousands of military officers across the country, armed groups in South Sudan are still violating fundamental rights of children.
The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and partners are determined to put an end to what is known as the six grave violations of children in armed conflict: the killing, maiming recruitment and abduction of boys and girls by armed groups, attacks against schools and hospitals, and denying humanitarian access to children in need.
Recently, it was time for a refresher workshop for the Upper Nile State’s Technical Committee, responsible for overseeing the elimination of these violations. Ministers and representatives from both the police and armed groups are all part of the committee, whose 20 members were invited to the training, held by the peacekeeping mission’s Child Protection Unit and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“To raise awareness levels, we engage with the state committee on a regular basis, but we have realized that are counterparts are still lacking some of the technical knowledge. That is why we organized this workshop for everyone involved to understand their role in putting an end to the abuse of children,” said Child Protection Officer Gloria Kasande, who serves with UNMISS.
To stop perpetrating the six grave violations is part of South Sudan’s revitalized peace agreement, signed in September 2018. In 2020, a comprehensive action plan to make this happen was agreed on by the parties. Significant work remains to be done, but workshop participants praised the training as another step in the right direction.
“This workshop is important because we keep learning. Getting together like this helps us elaborate a better collaborative strategy to achieve our goal,” affirmed John Kodophar, representing the state’s Ministry of Cabinet Affairs.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).