2 000 child soldiers in South Sudan - UN

2012-03-16 22:10

Juba - South Sudan must uphold promises to abolish its use of child soldiers, with about 2 000 minors still serving in its rebel turned regular army, the UN's top expert on children in conflict said on Friday.

The South's military, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), repeated pledges again this week - but the first time as a national army following the South's independence in July - to release children from its ranks.

In 2003 the SPLA was put on a UN blacklist of forces who use child soldiers, when the then guerrilla army was battling the Khartoum government in Sudan's bloody 1983-2005 civil war.

"It is very important that we delist them as soon as possible, and now they are a national army, it becomes extremely important," UN special representative for children and armed conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy told reporters.

"If you're a violator that's been persistent, there's the possibility of sanctions," she added, noting those could include asset freezes, arms or travel embargoes.

However, she also said the fledgling nation had been making progress, including demobilising some 3 000 children since the civil war ended seven years ago, and supporting SPLA promises to release the rest.

"We estimate that there will be about 2 000 children that will be released," Coomaraswamy said, adding that many of those remaining came from rebel militia forces recently integrated into the army.

Although there have been no exact figures on South Sudan's army since independence, it is thought that it numbers somewhere between 100 000-150 000.

The United Nations classifies a child soldier as anyone under the age of 18.

South Sudan, oil-rich but grossly underdeveloped, is riven by brutal ethnic violence, while the government has sought to quell multiple rebellions by offering to integrate fighters into the army's ranks.

However, Coomaraswamy said the reintegration of former child soldiers was a huge challenge in a nation where over 80 % are illiterate, and where the bloated army is the only source of paid employment for many.

Following South Sudan's slashing of budgets following a drastic shut down of oil production in January - providing 98% of revenues - Coomaraswamy said education must be supported to keep children out of armed groups.

"Even if there is an austerity budget, education should be a priority," she said.

Read more on:    un  |  south sudan  |  east africa
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.