SOUTH SUDAN / CHILDREN RELEASED FROM ARMED GROUPS

18-Apr-2018 00:02:57
More than 200 children were released by armed groups in South Sudan on Tuesday. This was the second release of children in a series, supported by UNICEF, that will see almost 1,000 children released from the ranks of armed groups in the coming months. UNICEF
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STORY: SOUTH SUDAN / CHILDREN RELEASED FROM ARMED GROUPS
TRT: 02:57
SOURCE: UNICEF / UNMISS
RESTRICTION: PLEASE CREDIT UNICEF ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 17 APRIL 2018, YAMBIO, SOUTH SUDAN
SHOTLIST
UNICEF - 17 APRIL 2018, YAMBIO, SOUTH SUDAN

1. close up, a boy in a uniform waiting for the release ceremony to start
2. Close up, a girl waiting for the release ceremony to start
3. Close up, girl in a uniform waiting for the release ceremony to start
4. Wide shot, former child soldiers laying down their weapons and walking away from the weapons
5. Wide shot, former child soldiers, crowd cheering
6. Wide shot, handing over of UNMISS t-shirts; “Children not soldiers”
7. Close up, a boy holding UNMISS t-shirt
9. Close up, boys wearing the UNMISS t-shirt
10. Close up, a boy changing military boots to sandals
11. Close up, old uniforms worn by former child soldiers
12. Close up, UNICEF backpacks handed over to former child soldiers
13. Wide shot, former child soldiers after the release ceremony
14. Close up, a boy and a girl after the ceremony
15. Close up, a baby and the mother
16. Close up, a former child soldier, “Nancy”
17. Wide shot, a former child soldier, “Nancy”
18. Close up, a former child soldier, “Nancy”
19. SOUNDBITE (English) “Nancy”, former child soldier:
“I am 16 years old. I am with my family now. I was [in the armed group]. There I worked with [tending] the chicken. My hope now is that I can go to school and learn. I want to be a midwife in the future if God wishes.”
20. Close up, UNICEF logo at the site of the release, former child soldier Nancy in the background
21. Wide shot, the Representative of UNICEF South Sudan Mr. Mahimbo Mdoe

UNMISS - 17 APRIL 2018, YAMBIO, SOUTH SUDAN

22. SOUNDBITE (English) Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF Country representative in South Sudan:
“UNICEF is ready to support, along with the national demobilization commission and UNMISS, to demobilize those children to put them back in their families. We don’t believe any child should be a soldier [or that] any child should carry a gun; and we find it completely unacceptable.”

UNICEF - 17 APRIL 2018, YAMBIO, SOUTH SUDAN

23. Close up, UNICEF flag at the site of the ceremony
24. Close up, the hands of a former child soldier
STORYLINE
More than 200 children were released by armed groups in South Sudan on Tuesday (17 Apr). This was the second release of children in a series, supported by UNICEF, that will see almost 1,000 children released from the ranks of armed groups in the coming months.

The first release of children took place in Yambio Town in early February, where more than 300 children were released to return to their families, or to UNICEF-supported care centres. This latest release of a further 207 children continues that effort and took place in a rural community called Bakiwiri, about an hour’s drive from Yambio, in Western Equatoria State.

During the ceremony, the children were formally disarmed and provided with civilian clothes. Medical screenings will now be carried out, and children will receive counselling and psychosocial support as part of the reintegration programme, which is implemented by UNICEF and partners.

SOUNDBITE (English) “Nancy”, former child soldier:
I am 16 years old. I am with my family now. I was [in the armed group]. There I worked with [tending] the chicken. My hope now is that I can go to school and learn. I want to be a midwife in the future if God wishes.”

When the children return to their homes, their families will be provided with three months’ worth of food assistance to support their initial reintegration. The children will also be provided with vocational training aimed at improving household income and food security. Being unable to support themselves economically can be a key factor in children becoming associated with armed groups. In addition to services related to livelihoods, UNICEF and partners will ensure the released children have access to age-specific education services in schools and accelerated learning centres.

SOUNDBITE (English) Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF Country representative in South Sudan:
“UNICEF is ready to support, along with the national demobilization commission and UNMISS, to demobilize those children to put them back in their families. We don’t believe any child should be a soldier [or that] any child should carry a gun; and we find it completely unacceptable.”

According to UNICEF, the 207 children released (112 boys, 95 girls), were from the ranks of the South Sudan National Liberation Movement (SSNLM) - which in 2016 signed a peace agreement with the Government and is now integrating its ranks into the national army - and from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO). An upsurge of fighting in July 2016 stalled the original plans to release children, but momentum is now building for further releases in the future.

Despite this progress, there are still around 19,000 children serving in the ranks of armed forces and groups in South Sudan. So long as the recruitment and use of children by armed groups continues, these groups fail on their commitment to uphold the rights of children under international law. As peace talks resume and the future of the transitional government is debated, UNICEF urges all parties to the conflict to end the recruitment of children and to release all children in their ranks.

Adequate funding for UNICEF’s release programme is also essential. UNICEF South Sudan requires US$45 million to support release, demobilization and reintegration of 19,000 children over the next three years.
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