The UN Security Council Working Group on children and armed conflict is in South Sudan to seek ways of protecting children in the wake of recent peace deal, the UN mission said on Monday.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the delegation, which arrived in Juba on Sunday, will hold high-level talks with senior government actors including UN, NGOs and inter-faith organizations to discuss opportunities to strengthen the protection of children.
“A particular focus will be dedicated to accountability for perpetrators of grave violations against children as well as on the reintegration of children that have been released from parties to conflict as a way of promoting sustainable peace,” said UNMISS in a statement issued in Juba.
It said the group, which will be in South Sudan until Wednesday, will also travel to Pibor and Bor to see first-hand the challenges created by ongoing violations perpetrated against children by parties to the conflict and to meet with local governors, the UNMISS and partners implementing reintegration programs for children that have been the victims of the six grave violations.
The visit by the delegation which is led by ambassador to the United Nations, Olof Skoog, will build on the visit by Virginia Gamba, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for children and armed conflict, to South Sudan in September.
During her September visit, Gamba had condemned rampant violence perpetrated against children in war-torn South Sudan.
Gamba said recruitment of children into armed groups, sexual violence, abductions, killing, attacks on schools and denial of humanitarian aid are rife as children continue to suffer the brunt of nearly five years of civil war.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The United Nations estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.