UNGA President Denis Francis. (Photo: Radio Tamazuj)

UNGA President decries impact of conflict on children in South Sudan

The President of the UN General Assembly, Denis Francis, on Friday, said 70 percent of children in South Sudan are not attending schools due to conflict and other natural disasters.

Speaking at a press conference after concluding a three-day working visit to South Sudan, Francis said the absence of schools for the children will negatively affect the future of South Sudan.

“It is important to note that the Republic of South Sudan has one of the youngest and most vibrant populations but sadly 70 percent of children are not in school. They are missing out on learning and empowerment because of prolonged conflict, the climate crisis, displacement, poverty, and many other reasons,” he said. “This affects their rights to development, excludes them from future work opportunities, and exposes them to further violence, abuse, and exploitation. It puts at risk not only their future but also the firm foundation of the country itself.”

The top UN official commended the UN family`s efforts in doing its utmost to enhance access to education for all children across South Sudan, including renovating and building classrooms, training teachers, and distributing textbooks

“This reflects the true mission of the United Nations and it also positively reflects on the general assembly`s commitment to children. The right to education as a viable means in building societies grounded on respecting and promoting human rights, the rule of law and tolerance and addressing the root causes of conflicts” he said.

Francis assured that the UN system and the General Assembly which he leads firmly stand behind the people of South Sudan.

“We stand with all those living through or recovering from instability or conflict, we stand with the people of the Republic of South Sudan, including those who are internally displaced not by any choice of their own and we stand with the communities living on the frontline of some of our gravest challenges be it natural, manmade or otherwise,” he stated. “As the president of the UN General Assembly, my door remains open to help build peace, progress, prosperity, and sustainability for all here in South Sudan, in the wider region, and including in neighboring Sudan where we are witnessing unprecedented levels of violence that must stop now and indeed around the world.”