This article was last updated on May 27, 2022
By Jok P Mayom and Peter Lokale
JUBA, 16 June 2015 [Gurtong]- The theme for this year’s Day of the African Child (DAC) 2015 is “Accelerating our Collective Efforts to End Child Marriage in Africa.”
The lead, Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare joined by supporting Agencies; UNICEF, Save the Children International among other local nongovernmental organizations said there is need to end child marriage by allowing the gild child to go to school.
The occasion was held at Nyakuron Cultural center attended by the United Nation Children Funds (UNICEF), Save the Children International Country Representatives among others.
Regina Osca Lullo, Director General for Gender Child and Social Welfare, in the National Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare said “as we gather here today, we are advocates to prevention of child marriage and tell everyone that child marriage is illegal and any person who commits the crime will be imprisoned for 14 years, according to the RSS Child Act 2008.”
2015 marks the fourth year of celebrating the Day of the Africa Child since South Sudan became independent in 2011.
“The Commemoration of the DAC this year gives us an opportunity, as a nation to reflect on the situations of our children in South Sudan as to what progress we have made in areas of child development, child protection and child participation” explained the Director General for Gender Child and Social Welfare in South Sudan.
“All stakeholders who are committed to the development, protection and response to plight of children in South Sudan are encouraged to consolidate their efforts and work harder to address the obstacles that prevent the realization of the rights of Children in South Sudan” she said
“To accelerate our collective responsibility to end child marriage in South Sudan requires our integrated collaboration with all stakeholders” she added.
The D.G mentioned key stakeholders including the Ministry of Justice, Health, Education, Interior, culture, local government, and faith based organization, United Nation Agencies and Civil Societies.
Mr. Peter Walsh, Save the Children International South Sudan Country Representative said that the day is important for the the girl child in South Sudan stressing that there is need for the protection of the girl child in the country.
Ettie Higgins, UNICEF Country Deputy Representative said the Agency is committed to continue supporting children in South Sudan calling for eradication of illiteracy through sending the girl child to school.
The occasion was also attended by a total of seven primary schools in Juba.
Meanwhile in Torit, the state Gender, Culture and Social Development Minister, Hon. Margaret Idwa Okuye told the press that the International African Child Day celebrations will be held next Monday in the State.
This she said was because there was need for adequate preparation by the two concerned institutions, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender, Culture and Social Development.
This occasion is firstly a commemoration to recall the 1976 uprising s in Soweto, when a protest by school children in South Africa against apartheid which resulted in the public killing of unarmed young protesters by police officials.
The DAC further presents an opportunity to focus on the work of all actors committed to the rights of children on the continent, to consolidate their efforts in addressing the obstacles for realizing these rights.
The DAC also provides an occasion for Governments, International Institutions and Communities to renew their on-going commitments towards improving the plight of children by organizing activities aimed at including them.