Save the Children, Government and partners commit to strengthen cross-border child protection mechanisms.

Thursday 25 November 2021

Participapants pose in a group photo during the consultative meeting at Grand Hotel Juba. Photo: Tito Justin/Save the Children

November 23, Juba South Sudan - Save the Children, government and partners have pledged to promote child friendly approaches in national laws, policies and field practices as measures to protect migrants and child refugees moving across the borders.

The commitment was made during a two-day workshop aimed at strengthening national child protection systems and cross border collaboration to respond to the needs of migrant and refugee children in East Africa.

The workshop recommended that East African Community Secretariat works with Save the Children International to create Toll-Free Lines and establish/equip response teams within the Child Protection Units both at the border and across the referral pathways.

The East African Community in collaboration with IGAD, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Save the Children and the GIZ African Union (AU) Border Programme have developed a “Roadmap on Strengthening National Child Protection Systems and Cross Border Collaboration” to respond to the needs of migrant and refugee children in East and Horn of Africa. 

The roadmap suggests various actions on strengthening measures to protect and provide a continuum of care for children on the move across the borders of the East and Horn of Africa. To implement the roadmap, partner states suggested priority actions at national level and the meeting recommended the convening of national multistakeholder consultations to finalise the action plans.

Government, Civil Society and Non-governmental organization representatives highlighted need for enabling environment technical skills for frontline workers, coordination between neighboring countries and child participation in South Sudan.

The meeting received reflections from South Sudan delegates on the promotion of child friendly approaches.

On behalf of the Regional Child Protection Network, Mr. Sebi Muzamil, Head of Advocacy, Campaigns, Communications Media, and Safeguarding, Save the Children International -South Sudan, noted that violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, among others are some of the challenges facing child refugees and migrant populations.

He said:

“Save the Children is commitment to continuously collaborate with the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare and other line ministries, the international agencies and the EAC Secretariat to implement the actions that will be proposed in the roadmap”

Mrs. Regina Ossa Lullo, Director General for Gender and Child Welfare, Ministry of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare said: “it is the obligation of everyone in South Sudan to protect children especially migrant and refugee children as they face various risks and challenges notably abuse and exploitation. South Sudan committed to the inclusion of children on the move into national systems and establishing/reinforcing strengthening cross-border child protection mechanisms”

“South Sudan as a new country in the EAC, needs development of various legal, policy frameworks and strengthening of systems to ensure that they are inclusive to respond to the needs of refugee and migrant children.  There is need to strengthen children services such as education, social protection, and health especially immunisation and vaccination”, said Mrs. Regina Ossa. 

The consultative meeting organized by East African Community provides an opportunity to include child protection issues and define collaboration mechanisms through bilateral actions. South Sudan is in the process of establishing One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) at selected border crossings. Child Protection is a priority consideration in the establishment of the infrastructure and operational mechanisms of the OSBPs including deployment of Social Workers and counsellors.

Written by: Tito Justin/Save the Children