Partners develop Action Plan to safeguard children's right to survival, protection, education as per UNCRC guidance
Save the Children Acting Country Director [Brown t-shirt, front row], Government officials, and participants from Human Rights Commission, CSOs, UN & International agencies pose for a group photo. CREDIT: Daniel Danis/Save the Children
Save the Children and the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare engaged stakeholders from partner organizations and civil society groups in consolidating plans for addressing issues affecting children’s welfare in South Sudan.
The objective was for Child Rights Coalition members to develop an action plan in line with the recommendations of the committee of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The convention reaffirms "every child has the right to survival, protection, and education.
According to the IPC report, families, especially children in South Sudan are affected by climate, insecurity, population displacements, diseases, pests, economic crisis, health challenges, education, and WASH challenges. Others are forced by conflicts to live in settlements where there is little or no rule of law, and where they have no access to protection services.
To address some of these challenges, thirty participants representing line government ministries, Human Rights Commission, civil society organizations, UN agencies, and international organizations attended a one-day workshop today in Juba. The stakeholders looked at what they can do collectively to strengthen the recommendations of the UNCRC and agreed on joint resolutions for the implementation.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a legally-binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of every child, regardless of their race, religion, or abilities.
South Sudan ratified the Convention in April 2015. In it, the government is obligated to meet children’s basic needs and help them reach their full potential.
“The ratification increased the government recognition and attention to incorporating and domesticating UNCRC into country laws, policies, and standards to promote, protect and fulfill child rights,” said Gabriel Galuak Chol, Child Protection & Child Rights Governance Coordinator – Save the Children.
The participants have developed an action plan that ensures the national and state governments prioritize children in their budgets, programmes and policies.
“The budget allocated for the welfare of children through line ministries is minimal. All levels must put in place the necessary systems (legal, administrative and financial) to deliver rights for all children without discrimination and who listen to children’s views, when making decisions that affect them,” Mr. Chol added.
In accordance with UNCRC rules and procedures, after the country’s ratification of the convention documents, the state of South Sudan is expected to report to UNCRC Committee on the status of the implementation of UNCRC and its General Measure of Implementation in the country.
While opening the workshop for the participants, the Acting Country Director of Save the Children, Muzamil Sebi said:
“Save the Children will work in collaboration with the government and local partners to strengthen policies and systems so that children can survive, learn and be safe at all times in all places.”
The workshop further agreed on how partners can hold governments and other powerful actors to account when they fail to provide the resources and services children need to survive, be protected, and learn. The strategies include lobbying and advocacy initiatives to enhance children's welfare.
The UNCRC acknowledges that every child has basic fundamental rights such as life, survival and development, protection from violence, abuse, or neglect, and an education that enables children to fulfill their potential. It also says children should be raised by, or have a relationship with, their parents and should express their opinions and be listened to.
It further asks governments to ensure children under the age of 18 are not forcibly recruited into their armed forces, and that no child should be allowed into prostitution, child pornography, and the sale of children into slavery.
“Save the Children calls on all levels of government (in South Sudan) to recommit to the UNCRC by focusing on ensuring all laws fully comply with the UNCRC, increase government spending on children, and establish an independent ombudsman for child rights,” Mr. Muzamil concluded.
Story by: Daniel Danis/Save the Children