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 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. 

“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.”


Notes for editors:

For further information please contact Rose Foley, UNICEF UK, + 44 (0)20 7375 6077 / Mobile: + 44 (0)7964 296 431 rosef@unicef.org.uk 

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation for children, working in over 190 countries to help every child realise their full potential. We work with partners to transform the lives of children everywhere. UNICEF provides health care, water, nutrition, education and protection for children. The most vulnerable and disadvantaged children are our priority. As champion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, we work to protect and promote the rights of every child. UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit www.unicef.org.uk