UNICEF warns against child neglect

<strong>UNICEF warns against child neglect</strong>

Child protection and food security practitioners in South Sudan urged the government and the donor community not to neglect children and condemn them to suffering.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) noted in a statement that children make up 40 per cent of the population in need of food security and livelihood support and must be prioritised during intervention.

It noted that the young ones also face other social issues, like negative coping mechanisms that include child marriage, child labour, family separation, and recruitment by armed forces and armed groups, among others

Food Security and Livelihoods Cluster Coordinator, Jean-Loic Guieze, said, “food security is essential for children’s development,” and “it makes the difference between helping them thrive in the future or pushing them towards harmful coping mechanisms to survive.”

 “Children deserve to grow up in a healthy and safe environment where they can focus on their education and being children instead of having to worry about what they will eat next.”

Obia Achieng, Deputy Representative, UNICEF South Sudan stated that the food security situation in the country continues to deteriorate, and with almost 8 million people food insecure, child protection proponents are bracing for another year of rises in child protection cases.

“It is imperative to highlight that the multiple crises in South Sudan are a child protection crisis,” Obia said. 

The Annual Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict reported a 135 per cent increase in grave violations against children’s rights in 2022.

Humanitarian actors reported an overall increase of 8 per cent in the number document child protection cases.