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Educate ex-child soldiers, gov’t told

Author: Emmanuel Akile | Published: Thursday, September 3, 2020

Child soldiers get demobilized in Yambio, Western Equatoria, in 2018 | Credit | UN

The Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission has urged the transitional government and partners to support former child soldiers who have been reunited with their families.

The national commission says this includes the provision of education and health services.

In 2019, the UN children’s agency, UNICEF said there were about 19,000 children associated with armed groups in South Sudan.

“Some of these children left homes because of domestic violence or hunger or lack of parental support to go to school,” Oluku Andrew, national coordinator of the DDR Commission, told Eye Radio.

Between 2014 and 2018, about 4,000 of them were released and reunited with their families, mainly in Greater Pibor, Western Equatoria and Unity states.

In May this year, UNICEF welcomed the demobilization of 10 more child soldiers.

The children included nine boys and one girl between the ages of 15 and 17, who were identified in one of the training centers of the unified forces near Juba.

The national coordinator of the DDR Commission says from 2005-2020, about 3,000 children who were associated with armed conflicts have been released.

Andrew noted that most of these kids do not enroll in schools after reintegration.

“I appeal to the the government of South Sudan and its stakeholders that we need to be focused in investing in the education of our children to build our children for greater South Sudan,” he added.

According to the transitional constitution, a child is not required to serve in the army nor permitted to perform work which may be hazardous or harmful to his or her education, health or well-being.

The Bill of Rights also states that every child has the right to life, survival and development; and should not to be subjected to exploitative practices or abuse.

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