An Examination of the Implementation of the Legal Provisions for the Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflicts in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State, South Sudan

Justin Filbert Rugbua, Susanne Nambatya, Emmanuel Tweh Friday


The study mainly looked at an examination of the implementation of the legal provisions for the protection of children’s rights in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State and it proposed strategies for effective implementation of children’s rights in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal State. Purposive sampling was used to select the study sample of 120 respondents (who included 104 local community members and 16 key informants). Quantitative data analysis was based on 104 questionnaires for the local community members. Qualitative data was gathered from the key informant responses. Quantitative data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. The findings revealed that most of the works on child protection is done by International and local organizations. The government is not very visible in working hand in hand with these organizations to implement laws on the protection of the rights of children. The findings also revealed that the government has got limited capacity in implementing provisions on child protection. There is a gap in drafting and enforcing laws to protect children in armed conflicts. It is true as well that protection procedures have not been observed at the grassroots level, despite the positive finding that there are standard operating procedures on how to deal with children affected by armed conflicts, although more emphasis is required on the protection of child rights in general. Generally, the results showed that protection of children’s rights in Wau is poor and Government efforts to implement child protection policies and programs at state levels remain low although protection by NGOs and International Organizations like the UN and its agencies was comparatively acknowledged. The proposed strategies for effective implementation of children’s rights in Wau, Western Bahr el Ghazal state included; the need for more collaborations between the International organizations, NGOs, and government agencies which was suggested by the majority of the study respondents. Other strategies included: the promotion of community-based child protection mechanisms, introduction and establishment of child protection desk offices at all administrative levels in Wau, and practically implement binding South Sudanese laws and updating the penal code on protection of children urging that laws were enacted but their level of implementation is still poor. The paper recommends greater collaboration among all relevant stakeholders in the country on children's affairs to ensure that legal provisions on children's protection are effectively implemented and adhered to. Child Protection resources should be diversified to cover the different areas of child protection.


Children, Legal Provisions, Children Protection, Armed Conflicts, South Sudan

Full Text:



African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), (2016). Continental Study on the Impact of Conflict and Crises on Children in Africa. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17th October 2021]

Australian Human Rights Commission, (2021). OPCAT: Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10th October 2021]

Breadcook, B. H. (2013). “Forced Wives as Victims and Perpetrators of War Violence in Transitional Justice Processes,” [online] Available: [Accessed 28th September 2021]

CRIN, 2019. RIGHTS: Learn about children's rights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28th September 2021]

Deng, K. (2018). “Child Protection in Emergencies Desk Review”, Child Protection Working Group.

Doek, J. E. (2014). Child Well-Being: Children's Rights Perspective. In: Ben-Arieh A., Casas F., Frønes I., Korbin J. (eds) Handbook of Child Well-Being. Springer, Dordrecht.

Government of Southern Sudan, (2011). The Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, 2011. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29th September 2021]

Harju, A.K. (2013). Violations of Children’s Rights in Armed Conflicts. International Treaties, Observations by Peacekeepers and Crisis Management Training in Finland. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 22nd September 2021]

Kate, A. K. (2015). “Fragility and state-society relations in South Sudan,” Africa Centre for Strategic Studies Research Paper No.4, September 30th.

LSE (2012). African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3rd October 2021]

Nafziger E. W, et al., (2013). War, hunger, and displacement: The origin of humanitarian emergencies. Oxford University Press.

Perianes, A. (2017). “The Unbearable Situation of Children in Armed Conflicts around the world,”[Online] Available: [Accessed 12th September 2021]

Stewart, J. (2003). “Towards a single definition of armed conflict in international humanitarian law: A critique of internationalized armed conflict,” Revue Internationale De La Croix-Rouge/International Review of the Red cross,85(850): 313-350. Doi:10.1017/S0035336100115199

UN, 2019. UNMISS welcomes the ratification of international human rights covenants in South Sudan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14th October 2021]

UN Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner, 2021. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 27th September 2021]

UN, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts, (2021). Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict.[online] Available at: [Accessed 6th October 2021]

UNHCR, (2016). On eve of South Sudan 5th Anniversary, Forced Displacement Continues to Rise. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 October 2021]

UNICEF, (2016). “Hundreds of Children Recruited by Armed Groups in South Sudan, as Violations against Women and Children Increase,” [Online] Available at:[Accessed 21st September 2021]

UNICEF, (2019). The Convention on the Rights of the Child: The children’s version. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 9th October 2021]

Xinhua (2019). UN hails ratification of human rights treaties by South Sudan parliament. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 17th October 2021]



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Justin Filbert Rugbua, Susanne Nambatya, Emmanuel Tweh Friday

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.