UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner Press Release 9/2/2022

Experts of the Committee on the Rights of the Child Praise South Sudan’s Child Act, Ask about the Recruitment of Children by Government Forces and Armed Groups, and about School Feeding Schemes

02 September 2022

The Committee on the Rights of the Child today concluded its consideration of the initial report of South Sudan, with Committee Experts praising South Sudan’s child act, and raising questions about the recruitment of children by Government forces and armed groups, and about school feeding schemes.

Several Committee Experts commended South Sudan on the child act, which one Expert described as having “ground-breaking provisions”.

Gehad Madi, Committee Expert and Coordinator of the Country Taskforce for South Sudan, expressed serious concern that children continued to be recruited by Government forces and armed groups. There was a lack of support for such children in reintegrating in society, and there was still impunity regarding this crime. What measures were in place to address the situation? Eighty children had been abducted by Government forces and security forces between 2018 and 2020. What was the fate of those children, and what had been done to punish those responsible?

Another Committee Expert said that South Sudan was facing food insecurity, and children and women were particularly affected as a result. What measures were in place to address the challenges of food insecurity and malnutrition? What efforts were being made to reintroduce school feeding schemes?

Addressing the issue of child recruitment, the delegation said that a new action plan on preventing the use of children in armed conflict was signed in 2020. Under the latest plan, committees had been established to collect recruited children, place them in training centres, and then reintegrate them back into their communities. Mobile justices dealt with cases of rights violations against children across the country.

Regarding school feeding schemes, the delegation said that the Ministry of Agriculture had developed a home-grown school feeding programme that was being piloted in schools. In this programme, schools were encouraged to cultivate their own food to feed their students. The World Food Programme planned to soon restore school feeding programmes in some schools.

In closing remarks, Mr. Madi said children in South Sudan faced many issues, and to tackle these, changes in mindset were necessary. The State needed to immediately abolish the recruitment of child soldiers and hold those who recruited children accountable. Mr. Madi called on the State party to give due attention to the Committee’s concluding observations, and called on non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders to also respond to these observations.

In her concluding remarks, Aya Benjamin Libo Warrille, Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare of South Sudan and head of the delegation, said that issues had emerged during the dialogue that the Government was committed to addressing. It would work to identify gaps, seek solutions and implement the Committee’s recommendations. The Government aimed to uphold the rights of all children in South Sudan.

The delegation of South Sudan consisted of representatives from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs; Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare; Transitional National Legislative Assembly; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; South Sudan People's Defense Forces; Ministry of General Education and Instructions; and the Permanent Mission of South Sudan to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The Committee will issue its concluding observations on the report of South Sudan at the end of its ninety-first session on 23 September. Those, and other documents relating to the Committee’s work, including reports submitted by States parties, will be available on the session’s webpage.

Summaries of the public meetings of the Committee can be found here, while webcasts of the public meetings can be found here. The programme of work of the Committee’s ninety-first session and other documents related to the session can be found here.

The Committee will next meet in public on Monday, 5 September at 3 p.m. to consider the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Germany (CRC/C/DEU/5-6).

Report

The Committee has before it the initial report of South Sudan (CRC/C/SSD/1).

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