Child soldiers released in war against COVID-19

UN secretary general António Guterres

UN secretary general António Guterres

from RAJI BASHIR in Khartoum, Sudan
KHARTOUM, (CAJ News) THE United Nations (UN) has welcomed the pledge by several countries to end the recruitment of children and the release of youngsters involved in battle as soldiers.

This commitment follows the effective implementation of ceasefires by parties to conflict after the global call for peace made by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on March 23.

The call is part of interventions against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

At least 11 countries have committed to halt hostilities.

Parties in Cameroon, Philippines, Sudan, Syria and Yemen have gone a step further by committing to the end of violations against children during conflict.

Such violations include recruitment of minors as child soldiers.

Virginia Gamba, the UN envoy for Children and Armed Conflict, welcomed the commitment by parties in the conflict torn countries.

She said ceasefires presented an additional opportunity to include the rights and well-being of children into peace dialogues.

“I urge all those engaged in such discussions to include child protection provisions, such as securing the release of all children associated with parties to conflict and prioritising their reintegration assistance,” she said.

Gamba reaffirmed that the current halt in hostilities was among some positive gains in the wake of COVID-19.

She said this opportunity should be used to put youngsters at the heart of peace building efforts.

“Children remain crucial to building the foundations of sustainable peace,” Gamba said.

– CAJ News

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