JUBA, SOUTHERN SUDAN, 31 August 2010 – UNICEF today welcomed the formation and launch of a Child Protection Unit by the government of Sudan within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) as a milestone for the rights of children in the country.
The formation of the Child Protection Unit follows an Action Plan signed by the SPLA committing to release all children in its ranks by November 2010 and to end the exploitation of children as soldiers across Southern Sudan.
“The launch is testimony to the commitment of the Government of Southern Sudan and the SPLA to accelerate the establishment of an environment where the rights of all the children are respected," said Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Southern Sudan, speaking at the launch. "Concrete measures must now be taken to ensure that all within the SPLA understand and respect their obligations.”
The Child Protection Unit is charged with the responsibility to ensure that no children are in the ranks of the SPLA. It will also work with partners during the verification, registration and demobilization of children still associated with the SPLA.
UNICEF will provide both financial and technical support to carry out sensitization campaigns and raise awareness with the SPLA officers on the legal framework on child rights, both international and national laws that prohibit recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For more information, please contact:
Swangin Bismarck, Communication officer UNICEF Southern Sudan Area programme, Juba
Mobile + 249(0) 919 261 580, +256(0) 477 103 390: