UN and Africa: South Sudan refugees, protecting children and mine-clearance around the country

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Children in the Protection of Civilians site in Bentiu, South Sudan. ©UNICEF/ UN070642/Phil Hatcher-Moore

Army officers urged to protect South Sudan's children

Soldiers in South Sudan have been reminded of their responsibility to protect children from violence, neglect, exploitation and abuse.  The army officers took part in a two-day workshop organized by the UN mission in the country, UNMISS, where they were urged to show leadership by ensuring their troops protect children caught in conflict.  South Sudan's army, known as the SPLA, has been accused of grave violations against children, including rape, killings and recruiting them as fighters.  Henry Lokuri spoke to the head of the Child Protection Unit at UNMISS, Alfred Orono Orono, who himself is a former child soldier from Uganda.

 

 

UNMAS operation to clear a UN base in Juba in the aftermath of days of heavy clashes between the two South Sudanese government forces. (2016) UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

Reflecting on the "roller coaster ride" of UN mine clearance action in South Sudan

Some 120,000 hectares of land in South Sudan have been cleared of landmines and other unexploded ordinance; one of the significant achievements of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) there.  That's according to Programme Officer Tim Lardner, speaking recently to our colleagues at the UN mission in the country.  South Sudan became independent in 2011, but the mine action programme has been there since 2004, when it was still part of Sudan.  UNMAS, which has 18 programmes around the world, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.  Mr Lardner sat down with Irene Lasu and Sebit Williams to reflect on progress made – and the challenges that remain.

 

 

Arnauld Akodjenou, UNHCR’s Regional Refugee Coordinator for South Sudan.
Photo: UNMISS/Isaac Billy

South Sudan refugees will near 3 million by end of 2018 unless fighting stops

The number of South Sudanese forced to flee their country could approach the three million mark by the end of next year, unless brutal civil conflict stops.  That's the stark assessment of Arnauld Akodjenou, the UN Regional Refugee Coordinator for South Sudan, with Refugee Agency UNHCR.  So far, he has been to four of the six countries which are hosting South Sudanese refugees, including northern Uganda, which has taken in more than a million.  Speaking to Alex Agole, he described some of the harrowing first-hand stories he's heard of women raped in front of their own children, and men in refugee camps now drowning their sorrow in alcohol and drugs,             without hope.

 

Presenter:  Matt Wells
Production Assistant: Fatima E. Mendez
Duration: 10’00″

Filed under UN and Africa.
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