S. Africa welcomes release of 13,600 children from armed forces: envoy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 3, 2019
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UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- South Africa welcomes the release of 13,600 children from armed forces and armed groups, and remains concerned about the manner in which children are forced to take an active part in hostilities, including carrying out suicide bombings against civilians, a South African envoy said here on Friday.

Speaking at a ministerial open debate on "Children and armed conflict," Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, said, "we call upon the armed groups to stop with the recruitment and use of children into armed forces. We are aware that children, particularly girls, associated with such armed conflicts are vulnerable to sexual abuse including sexual slavery. Resolution 2467 (2019) is instrumental as it aims to prevent these grave violations and provides for protection of girls from sexual violence during conflict."

It is concerning that after a decade of the adoption of Resolution 1882, there are still thousands of boys and girls killed, maimed, abducted, fall victims of sexual violence and are denied access to humanitarian assistance, Matjila said.

Children's basic rights to education and health are threatened as their schools and hospitals are closed or cease to function as a result of violent attacks as we witness in many conflict areas in the world, he said.

"We are deeply disturbed by the secretary-general's report which stated that more than 24,000 grave violations against children were verified by the United Nations in 20 countries in 2018," he said.

Although South Africa applauds the measures put in place by countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic and South Sudan to improve the protection of children, a greater focus needs to be placed on extensive child reintegration programs, he said.

"Children are fundamental to the future of peaceful and prosperous societies in all corners of the world," Matjila said, adding that "it is imperative that we partner, globally, regionally and nationally, to combine our efforts to collectively strengthen institutions and services for children, including justice, education and health services." Enditem

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