UNICEF / CHILD SOLDIER PROTECTION

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14-Mar-2012 00:02:45
UNICEF said that today's verdict by the International Criminal Court in the Thomas Lubanga case was a major victory for children and a crucial step forward in their protection. UNICEF / FILE

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STORY: UNICEF / CHILD SOLDIER PROTECTION
TRT: 2.45
SOURCE: ICC / UNICEF / IRIN / ILO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 14 MARCH 2012, MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN / FILE

SHOTLIST

ICC - 14 MARCH 2012, THE HAGUE

1. Wide shot, Court room
2. Med shot, Thomas Lubanga receiving verdict

UNICEF - 14 MARCH 2012, MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN

3. SOUNDBITE (English), Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“The case sets a very powerful precedent as it is the first time at the international level for an individual commander to be held criminally responsible for the war crime of conscription, enlistment and use of children on the frontlines on the battlefield.”

FILE –ILO - MARCH 2005, UGANDA

4. Various shots, child soldiers in a field

FILE – IRIN – JUNE 2005, GULU DISTRICT, NORTHERN UGANDA

5. Various shots, children entering shelter at night for protection against kidnapping
6. Various shots, children inside shelter
7. Pan right, children inside shelter

UNICEF - 14 MARCH 2012, MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN

8. SOUNDBITE (English) Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“Children continue to be exposed to grave violations the world over in situations of armed conflict. There are tens of thousands of children who are currently being used and recruited by various armed forces and armed groups in over 16 situations of armed conflict around the world. These children are exposed to tremendous violence as witnesses, as victims and as forced perpetrators”.

FILE – IRIN – AUGUST 2006, BORDER BETWEEN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) AND SUDAN

9. Med shot, Joseph Kony with other members
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Kony, LRA Leader:
"Those atrocities which was happened in northern Uganda, it was not me or my people. The tragedy that was taking place in Uganda was done by Uganda government."
10. Med shot, journalists around Kony
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Kony, LRA Leader:
"I did not abduct anybody which was in the bush and no any children in my position or in my camp."
12. Med shot, armed child soldier sitting on ground
13. Med shot, very young soldiers talking
14. Close up, gun barrel

UNICEF - 14 MARCH 2012, MALAKAL, SOUTH SUDAN

15. SOUNDBITE (English) Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“Awareness-raising is one of the most important first steps towards ensuring that this practice of recruiting and using children is ended and that the children who are caught up in these situations receive the necessary care for their rehabilitation and community re-integration. Of course, legal enforcement of international and national standards is a second crucial step as well as we are seeing here today.”

FILE – ILO – MARCH 2005 UGANDA

16. Various shots, former child soldiers in classroom

FILE – UNMISS - 28 DECEMBER, 2011, JONGLEI, SOUTH SUDAN

17. Various shots, youthful militia troops


STORYLINE:
The guilty verdict today by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga for recruiting child soldiers is a boon in the battle for child protection.
SOUNDBITE (English) Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“The case sets a very powerful precedent as it is the first time at the international level for an individual commander to be held criminally responsible for the war crime of conscription, enlistment and use of children on the frontlines on the battlefield.”

But this verdict is only the beginning of a long road to protecting children from predators in conflict.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“Children continue to be exposed to grave violations the world over in situations of armed conflict. There are tens of thousands of children who are currently being used and recruited by various armed forces and armed groups in over 16 situations of armed conflict around the world. These children are exposed to tremendous violence as witnesses, as victims and as forced perpetrators”.

Like Ugandan LRA (Lords Resistance Army) leader Joseph Kony, who has been wanted by the ICC since 2005 for ordering the abduction of children for sex slaves and child soldiers. He has evaded capture and vehemently denys any wrong doing.

SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Kony, LRA Leader:
"Those atrocities which was happened in northern Uganda, it was not me or my people. The tragedy that was taking place in Uganda was done by Uganda government."

UNICEF's approach to supporting children who have come out of armed forces and armed groups to re-integrate is to help them regain educational opportunities, vocational skills and livelihoods. This is an important step forward in supporting their transition back into their families and communities, without which children are at risk of returning to militaries.

SOUNDBITE (English) Pernille Ironside, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF:
“Awareness-raising is one of the most important first steps towards ensuring that this practice of recruiting and using children is ended and that the children who are caught up in these situations receive the necessary care for their rehabilitation and community re-integration. Of course, legal enforcement of international and national standards is a second crucial step as well as we are seeing here today.”

One of the major challenges is re-integrating children into unstable areas that continue to be insecure or war may even still be ongoing. There are also areas that are poverty stricken and resulting in few opportunities for children to find meaningful employment even once they are trained and finished their schooling.

On Monday, the United Nations including UNICEF signed an important agreement with the South Sudanese government to ensure that all remaining children associated with their military ranks are released as soon as possible.

The United Nations has signed already 15 of such agreements with various armed forces and groups around the world, an important step in formalizing the process of release and ensuring that children return to their families and communities as fast as possible.

In the last two years alone, UNICEF and partners have supported the release and re-integration of over 20 thousand children formally associated with armed forces and armed groups in conflicts countries like Chad Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal.
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