Nile River Greatness

Nile River Greatness
Cows grazing in Nile basin land

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



it is everyone responsibility to act

By Mugume D. Rwakaringi, JUBA/SOUTH SUDAN

Ms. Radhika Coomaraswami, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has reaffirmed United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNHCR), United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and other UN agencies commitment to sensitise all the stakeholders in Southern Sudan in an effort to have Child abuse eliminated.

Ms. Radhika Coomaraswami, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children, girl Children are the most vulnerable during armed conflicts

Radhika whose mission last month addressing Journalists at UNMIS headquarters on her trip to Sudan where she had a number of meetings in Khartoum, Darfur and Juba, focusing on issues pertaining to children and armed conflict on the invitation from the Government of Sudan.

Ms Radhika added that UN and other agencies are however affected by targeting of humanitarian workers and the denial of humanitarian access by rebels such as Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), SLA-Free Will, the JEM Peace Wing, the SLM-Abdulgassim and inter-tribal conflicts in Southern Sudan.

She however expressed optimism in combating the situation saying that this will be possible because UN has managed to get key commitments from parties. “The Action Plan calls for the release of children, for the verification of that release by United Nations agencies, and the reintegration of children according to that”, noted Ms Coomaraswami.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict also added that Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Uganda army who are fighting the LRA get many children, has accepted to enter into a protocol on immediate release of these children once they rescue them. They will enter into a protocol with UNICEF and the Ministries of Social Welfare in Yambio and other such affected areas.

She was also pleased with Ministry of Justice commitment that there would be no executions of children in Sudan.

Consequent from inter-tribal conflict, 370 children have been abducted in the last few months.

She also applauded The Southern Sudan Child Protection Act 2008 saying it will help the protection of Child rights in Southern Sudan.
“This is a positive move but this (Child Act) to be effective, there must be cooperation of all stakeholders including Media”, Ms Radhika noted.
Ms. Speaking on the same occasion, Ms Silivia Pasti, UNICEF Child Protection Officer said that UNICEF will be working closely with other UN agencies to ensure that the rescued children immediately start receiving help.

Coomaraswam has a long-standing history as a human rights advocate, with a particular focus on advocating for children and women issues and has occupied human rights positions both in Sri Lanka and internationally.

She was appointed by Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon as Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Her visit to Sudan was mostly concerned with child soldiers; rape and sexual violence and killing and maiming of children.

An estimated 300,000 child soldiers - boys and girls under the age of 18 - are involved in more than 30 conflicts worldwide. Child soldiers are used as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks and to provide sexual services. Some are forcibly recruited or abducted; others are driven to join by poverty, abuse and discrimination, or to seek revenge for violence enacted against themselves and their families.

The 2002 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict outlaws the involvement of children under age 18 in hostilities.

During armed conflict, girls and women are threatened by rape, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, trafficking, sexual humiliation and mutilation. Use of rape and other forms of violence against women has become a strategy in wars for all sides. Investigative reports following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda concluded that nearly every female over the age of 12 who survived the genocide was raped. During the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, more than 20,000 were estimated to have been sexually assaulted.

Of the 25 countries with the highest proportion of children orphaned by AIDS, about one-third have been affected by armed conflict in recent years. Of the 10 countries with the highest rates of under-five deaths, seven are affected by armed conflict.

Children in armed conflict also routinely experience emotionally and psychologically painful events such as the violent death of a parent or close relative; separation from family; witnessing loved ones being killed or tortured; displacement from home and community; exposure to combat, shelling and other life-threatening situations; acts of abuse such as being abducted, arrested, held in detention, raped, tortured; disruption of school routines and community life; destitution and an uncertain future.

The Writer is also a Law Lecturer at IMS-Southern University, Juba.

Tel: +249-955003929

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THE NILE FORTUNE Expanding Business beyond the Horizons • The Nile Fortune Magazine is a business Magazine published by The Active Nation Ltd committed to effective communication through Newsprint. The Nile Fortune Magazine Circulates in the 10 Countries that form Nile basin organization of Southern Sudan and North Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Burundi, Egypt and DR Congo with the circulation of over 5000 copies for a population of over 200 million people. VISION Sustainable social-economic development within Nile basin region and Africa in general. Clientele: Governments in the Nile Basin, International and local Investors, Private sector and the upcoming middle class, Local communities, International Humanitarian and relief agencies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Government Institutions, The business community. MUGUME D. RWAKARINGI MD, NILE FORTUNE MAGAZINE +249-955003929