A Study Ofinternational Responses to the Plight of Children in Armed Conflict in South Sudan a Case Study of Juba County, Central Equatoria State
Author: PONI ALLEN LADU
Supervisor: Ika Lino , Benedict Kabiito
The main focus of the study is to examine the efforts of international Organizations in protecting children during armed conflict and to establish the reasons why regardless of these efforts many children suffered rights abuse, denial and violations during the December 2013 armed conflict in Juba, Republic of South Sudan.
Using a case approach, the study used qualitative research method and information was collected through content analysis from various sources and from respondents using in-depth interviews. Purposive and snow balling sampling techniques were used to draw a total of 30 respondents who participated in the research. The researcher used individual in depth interview guides, and secondary sources of data to gather and analyze the research information.
The study examined the mandate of UNICEF as a lead agency for child protection in South Sudan, what UNICEF has done within this mandate and established the following as the most pertinent issues that hinder the effective protection of children’s rights during armed conflict: Lack of elaborate detail on the mandate to provide protection services can lead to ineffective protection of children’s rights during armed conflict; inadequate resources to support initiatives aimed at protecting children’s rights delayed interventions and response; limited capacity, and lack of political will from the conflicting parties to support the provision of protection services by the international child rights organizations.
The study recommended a collaborative participation of all partners responsible that is; the government, both conflicting partners and the international community as a whole. There is also need to create awareness on the mandates of the international organizations with emphases on their neutral role in human rights protection. The international decision making bodies like the United Nations Security Council should put in place a decisions matrix based on scenarios. This will act as a reference tool for updating and revising mandates and hence facilitating quick actions. An emergency response budget and plan should be developed by the emergency response child protection cluster to save time spent on resource mobilization and planning, protection agencies need to work with the host government’s relevant bodies to document knowledge on the needs and proportion of abuse to facilitate quick response when violence escalates.