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Child Soldiers: Borno CJTF Disengages 2,203 Children

 

The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Borno said the group had disengaged identified 2,203 children within its rank and file in compliance with United Nation’s Convention against the use of child soldiers.

The CJTF is established by Borno Government in 2013 to assist security forces in the fight against insurgency.

Speaking in Maiduguri on Monday in an occassion to commemorate this year’s International Day against the use of child soldiers, the Commander of the CJTF, Mallam Abati Isa lauded the state Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for thier role in the Initiative.

“The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) was listed in the annexes of the
Secretary-General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict in April 2016 for child recruitment and use.

“However, in September 2017, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners, signed an Action Plan with the CJTF to put an end to child recruitment and use.

“Following that, the CJTF, with the support of the CTFMR and the Borno
State Ministry of Justice (MOJ), took significant steps to put an end to
this practice.

“Significant progress has been made by the CJTF in implementing the
Action Plan, including standing orders to all commanders and their
sectors to stop recruiting children and the separation of 2,203 children
(363 girls, 1,840 boys) from the group’s rank and file.

“As a result of this significant achievement, the Secretary-General has delisted the group from the annexes of the Secretary-Annual General’s Report on CAAC,” Isa said.

According to the commander, the CJTF now ensure that no child is recruited or used by its members, adding that child protection units had been established in all sectors of the CJTF to ensure full compliance.

“Today, I add my voice to the call for all conflict parties to stop recruiting and using children. Millions of thanks to Ministry of Justice and UNICEF for supporting the initiative, Isa said.

In her remarks, the Head of UNICEF Maiduguri Field Office, Phoung Nguyen, said the recruitment and use if children in armed conflict violated national and international law.

“The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict prohibits any forced
recruitment or conscription of children under 18 by government forces,
and the participation of children under 18 in active hostilities by any party and also places obligations on non-state armed groups, not to, under any circumstances, recruit or use in hostilities persons under the age ofeighteen.

“The government of Nigeria ratified the Optional Protocol in 2012,” Nguyen said.

In her speech, the Borno Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, who spoke on the role of Borno Government in negotiating the releasing and reintegration of children formally associated with armed groups, said government with its partners had a programme to ensure children protection from exploitation and re-recruitment.

“In order to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and ensure their demobilisation and reintegration, birth registration is being promoted, especially among IDPs children who are being resettled in their ancestral homes.

“The Government has also put in place a strategy to protect children formerly associated with armed groups from retribution, summary execution, arbitrary detention, torture and other punitive measures, in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international juvenile justice standards, Gambo said.

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