NEW YORK (January 17, 2014) – UNICEF today expressed its deep concern about the use of children as combatants in the on-going armed conflict in South Sudan.
Under both international and South Sudanese national law, no person under the age of 18 should be allowed to participate in armed conflict, whether as a member of a regular army or of an informal militia.
UNICEF has received credible reports that children are participating in the conflict in South Sudan. Although unable to confirm precise numbers of children involved in the fighting, UNICEF urges all parties in the on-going conflict not to use or allow children to be used in the fighting, and to immediately release any children.
UNICEF is part of the UN Security Council-mandated Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on children affected by armed conflict in South Sudan. Despite challenges due to access and security, UNICEF is working with partners to ensure on-going reporting of violations.
"UNICEF reminds all parties in the conflict of their existing commitments and obligations under international and national law,” said Dr. Iyorlumun Uhaa, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “Any party that does not adhere to laws prohibiting the participation of children in armed conflict must be held accountable."
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF’s work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when zero children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.
For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, firstname.lastname@example.org