South Sudan


The South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF), including Taban Deng-allied SSPDF, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-in-Opposition (SPLA-IO) are listed for grave violations in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s (SG) 2020 annual report on children and armed conflict (CAAC). In March, UNMISS’s mandate is up for renewal, pursuant to SCR 2512 (2020). The SG’s December periodic report (S/2020/1180) documented grave violations against 23 children (12 girls, 10 boys, 1 unknown sex), a decrease from the previous reporting period. In January, the transitional unity government announced that it will establish the African Union Hybrid Court to prosecute human rights violations, per Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan. The Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (SCWG-CAAC) is currently negotiating its conclusions on the situation of children and armed conflict in South Sudan. The Security Council should:

  • Renew UNMISS’s child protection mandate, as implemented by a stand-alone Child Protection Section that continues to be well-resourced and has the political and operational space to engage with all parties to conflict on child protection; in subsequent budget negotiations, ensure distinct budget lines for child protection in order to allow UNMISS to effectively deliver on this mandate;
  • Urge all parties to swiftly and fully implement the January 2020 Comprehensive Action Plan to end and prevent all grave violations against children, immediately cease recruiting and using children, and release and hand over to child protection actors all children from their ranks; and call on the Government to endorse the Vancouver Principles and Paris Principles;
  • Call on all parties to take immediate and specific steps to end and prevent rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, and to ensure perpetrators are held accountable and survivors have access to comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response and protection;
  • Urge the Government to end impunity through timely and impartial investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution, and follow through on commitments to establish the Hybrid Court.

The United States is the lead country on South Sudan.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – March 2021.


UN Action

Year listed: 2007
Action Plans signed: SPLA – recruitment and use of children (November 2009; renewed in March 2012 as the national armed forces of South Sudan; recommitted in June 2014); SPLA/M-in Opposition – recruitment and use of children and killing and maiming (December 2015); Comprehensive action plan covering all grave violations replaces previous action plans for SPLA and SPLA-IO as of February 2020.
Sanctions Committee: South Sudan Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Viet Nam)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in South Sudan: 2020; 2018; 2014; 2011200920072006
Security Council Working Group conclusions on South Sudan: 2021; 2018; 2015; 2012200920082006
UN Mission: UNMISS

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2104 2015 2016 2017
South Sudan Defence Forces, including the forces of Major-General Gabriel Tang Ginyi a,b,c
Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) a,c a,c
Pibor Defence Forces a,b,c
Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA)~* a,c a a a a a,b a,b a,b,c,e a,b,c,e
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)* a a,b,c a,b,c a,b,c a,b,c a,b,c a,b,c
SPLA in Opposition~ a,b a,b a,b a,b
White Army a a a a

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.