Supporting children released from armed groups and forces in the DRC

Nikki Haley at the Transit and Orientation Centre in Goma

Nikki Haley at the Transit and Orientation Centre in Goma

YOUNG REPORTER – During her visit to a Transit and Orientation Centre in Goma, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations agreed to be interview by the Young Reporters.

‘Capoeira for Peace’ for vulnerable children

In the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), UNICEF is running several projects, in partnership with local bodies, to guarantee that all children have a positive experience of growing up.

One of these large-scale projects is “Capoeira for Peace”. This project is run by the NGO CAJED, which set up a Transit and Orientation Centre for children leaving armed forces and groups. This initiative aims to facilitate their reintegration into society.

A commitment to children released from armed groups and forces in the DRC

I had the privilege to meet the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, during her visit to the Transit and Orientation Centre on Thursday 26 October this year.

Following a short capoeira demonstration and interviews with some children at the centre, she agreed to be interviewed by the Young Reporters. She promised to talk about the situation of Congolese children who have been victims of armed conflict during the different interviews planned for her visit.

For me, this visit is a symbol of the United States’ commitment to Congolese children like us. Nikki Haley told us:

“I must offer my support to these children who, despite the weight of their experiences, still have smiles on their faces. Watching them dance the capoeira, I was delighted to see the joy that leaving their lives as child soldier has brought them and the hope of returning to their families”.

My advocacy for the rehabilitation of children leaving armed forces and groups

For the children at the Transit and Orientation Centre, the hope of returning to their families grows and grows. I hope that the United Nations will increase the resources available for children’s facilities, to improve their lives, both during and after conflicts.

I ask the leaders of our country to apply Article 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that every child has the right to grow up in an environment that protects him or her from abuse and exploitation and the right not to participate in armed conflict or suffer its effects.

In order to facilitate the reintegration of children who were previously part of armed forces and groups into society, vocational schools should be set up so that those who have fallen far behind in their schooling can still become productive members of society.

Finally, I ask parents not to discriminate against these children, but rather to help them to reintegrate, because children are the future of their nation.

More info about the Transit and Orientation Centre in Goma

Translated from French by Holly-Anne Whyte 

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Armand

Armand a 16 ans. Il étudie les sciences à Goma au Nord-Kivu et veut devenir pédiatre. C'est pour plaider en faveur des enfants qu'il est devenu parlementaire du parlement d'enfants de Goma et enfant reporter en 2014. Son but est de vivre dans un Congo où les droits de l'enfant sont bien respectés.

Armand is 16 years old. He studies sciences in Goma, North-Kivu and wants to be a paediatrician. In order to defend the cause of children, he took part in the children's parliament of Goma and became young reporter in 2014. His dream is to live in a Congo where children's rights are fully respected.

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