The United Nations Children Education Fund UNICEF has described the delisting of Civilian JTF as one of the armed groups recruiting children in the northeast as a step forward for child protection.
In a statement, UNICEF says United Nations Secretary-General’s report credited significant in the number of children recruited into the ranks of the CJTF and the group’s commitment to the implementation of an Action Plan it signed with the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting in 2017.
The statement adds that since signing the 2017 Action Plan, the CJTF has released more than 2,000 children from its ranks, with many of the children enrolled in school and provided with psychosocial support by UNICEF.
At least 3,500 young children were recruited by parties to the conflict as combatants between 2013 and 2020.
UNICEF explained that children used as soldiers are at a great risk of death or disability while undergoing armed training and initiation rites, as well as during combat.
UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong Nguyen, urged the leadership of the CJTF to establish child protection units across its offices to prevent future recruitment and use of children.
“Recruiting children into armed groups steals their innocence and the protection they need. We should not forget – deploying children as soldiers imperils peace and perpetuates the cycle of generational violence”.
She called on other armed groups and parties to the conflict to immediately stop the recruitment of children and safely reintegrate them with their families and communities.