Washington, DC - The United States is profoundly alarmed by the recent United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) report that implicates South Sudanese government forces in the recruitment of child soldiers since the July 7th return to hostilities. Above and beyond our calls for an end to ongoing violence in South Sudan, we insist on an immediate halt to the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers by government and opposition forces. Individuals responsible for the unlawful recruitment or use of child soldiers for armed groups or forces may be subject to sanction under U.S. law and may be targeted for UN sanctions.
On August 19, 2016, UNICEF announced that 650 children had been recruited into South Sudan’s current conflict in 2016 alone. UNICEF has also noted that an estimated 16,000 children have been recruited by both government and opposition forces since the outbreak of conflict in December 2013.
The continued unlawful recruitment and use of children in armed conflict in South Sudan is unacceptable. Eliminating the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers for armed groups in South Sudan is a leading priority of the United States. We remain committed to securing accountability for those who recruit and use children as soldiers.