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SC/11884
8 May 2015

Public Statement by Chair of Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

At its fifty-fourth meeting, on 8 May 2015, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict agreed, in connection with the examination of the first report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in South Sudan (S/2014/884), to address the following message to all parties to the armed conflict in South Sudan, in particular the SPLA, the SPLA-IO and armed groups operating in their support such as the White Army, through a public statement by the Chair of the Working Group:

a. Strongly condemning all violations and abuses that continue to be committed against children in South Sudan by all parties to the armed conflict, reminding them of their obligations under applicable international law, and urging them to take all necessary measures to immediately end and prevent all such violations and abuses, including those involving the recruitment and use, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, abductions, attacks against schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access as well as the military use of schools in violation of applicable international law;

b. Expressing deep concern at the continuing recruitment and use of children in violation of applicable international law and strongly urging all parties to the armed conflict to immediately and without preconditions release all children within their ranks and calling upon parties to the armed conflict that have not done so, to grant the United Nations unhindered access for verification and release of children associated with all parties;

c. Stressing the need for intercommunal tensions and violence in South Sudan to be addressed through inclusive dialogue and urging parties to intercommunal conflict to take immediate and specific measures to protect children and prevent all violations and abuses based on tribal affiliations;

d. Stressing that abduction, including as a means of recruitment or as part of intercommunal violence, is a violation against children in armed conflict as identified by the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, in particular 1539 (2004), and calling on all parties to the armed conflict to immediately release abducted children and allow for reunification with their families;

e. Recognizing the continued importance of tackling sexual violence in South Sudan and urging all parties to the armed conflict to take immediate and specific measures to put an end and prevent the perpetration of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children;

f. Condemning the attacks against humanitarian personnel and facilities and emphasizing that impediment of the delivery of humanitarian assistance can constitute a breach of international humanitarian law, and calling upon all parties to the armed conflict, including the SPLA, to ensure full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access for the United Nations and its humanitarian partners to deliver timely humanitarian assistance to affected population, including children;

g. Expressing deep concern over the lack of accountability for violations and abuses committed against children by all parties to the armed conflict and urging the Government of South Sudan to put an end to impunity by ensuring that all perpetrators of violations and abuses are swiftly brought to justice and held accountable, including through rigorous, timely, independent and impartial investigation and prosecution;

h. Recalling that the Security Council by its resolution 2206 (2015) decided to recognize the work of the African Union Commission of Inquiry in investigating and documenting violations as well as abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in South Sudan, anticipate with interest its findings and recommendations, encourage the public release of its final report as soon as possible, and welcome the further engagement of the African Union to ensure justice and accountability, as well as healing and reconciliation for South Sudan;

i. Expressing concern at the continued disregard of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed in January 2014 and the recommitments to the agreement thereafter, and urging all parties to immediately cease military operations, and to engage in an open and fully inclusive national dialogue seeking to establish lasting peace and reconciliation;

j. Expressing deep concern that the armed conflict, and the continued military use of schools in violation of applicable international law, has negatively impacted children’s safety and access to education and calling upon all parties to the conflict to comply with applicable international law and to respect the civilian character of schools and hospitals, including their personnel, and to end and prevent attacks or threats of attacks against those institutions and their personnel;

k. Welcoming the engagement of the Government of South Sudan on the “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign and the launch of the campaign at the national level on 29 October 2014 and urging the Government of South Sudan to take the necessary measures towards preventing and ending recruitment and use of children by Government forces no later than the end of 2016;

l. Urging all parties to the conflict to implement the previous conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict in South Sudan (S/AC.51/2012/2);

m. Urging the Government of South Sudan to implement all provisions of the Recommitment Agreement to the Revised Action Plan signed on 24 June 2014 to end all violations against children and the recent Joint Communique dated 12 October 2014 between the Government of South Sudan and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict;

n. Urging the SPLA-IO to implement the Commitment Agreement to End Grave Violations against Children, signed by the leader of SPLA-IO and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict on 10 May 2014 and to continue to engage with the country task force on monitoring and reporting to sign and implement an action plan to end and prevent violations and abuses against children;

o. Recalling that the Security Council by its resolution 2206 (2015) decided to apply financial and travel measures to individuals and entities as designated for such measures by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 16 of the above mentioned resolution for actions that may include:

i.   Use or recruitment of children by armed groups or armed forces in the context of the armed conflict in South Sudan;

ii.  Targeting of civilians, including children, through the commission of acts of violence (including killing, maiming, torture, or rape or other sexual violence), abduction, enforced disappearance, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious violation or abuse of international human rights law or international humanitarian law;

iii. Obstruction of the activities of international peacekeeping, diplomatic, or humanitarian missions in South Sudan, including the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Monitoring and Verification Mechanism or of the delivery or distribution of, or access to, humanitarian assistance;

p. Expressing its readiness to communicate to the Security Council pertinent information with a view to assisting the Council in the imposition of targeted measures on perpetrators.

For information media. Not an official record.