Juba — UNICEF today expressed its deep concern about the use of children as combatants in the ongoing 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 ongoing conflict not to use or allow children to be used in the fighting, and to immediately release any children.
"UNICEF reminds all parties in the conflict of their existing commitments and obligations under international and national law," said Dr Iyorlumun Uhaa, Representative for UNICEF South Sudan. "Any party that does not adhere to laws prohibiting the participation of children in armed conflict must be held accountable."
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 ongoing reporting of violations.