UNICEF Agency pledges sustained collaboration on child protection 

The agency's Chief of Communication said children should only be held as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time in accordance with national and international standards.

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A severely malnourished child in the hands of her mother waits to be processed into a UNICEF- funded health programme catering to children displaced by drought, at the regional hospital in Baidoa town in south-western Somalia play

A severely malnourished child in the hands of her mother waits to be processed into a UNICEF- funded health programme catering to children displaced by drought, at the regional hospital in Baidoa town in south-western Somalia

(AFP/File)
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The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says it will continue to work with relevant authorities to access children held for screening in order to safeguard their care and protection.

UNICEF gave the assurance in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja by Ms Doune Porter, its Chief of Communication.

Porter advised that children should only be held as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible time in accordance with national and international standards when the need for military screening was required.

She said: “These children are first and foremost victims of the conflict and require support to recover from their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities.’’

However, Porter commended the efforts of the Nigerian Army for securing the release of about 600 women, children and elderly men from Giwa military barracks in Maiduguri on April 10.

She described the release as a major step toward the protection of the children affected by the ongoing crisis.

She noted that it provide hope in a conflict that has continued to have an enormous impact on people’s lives.

“These children were held under administrative custody on alleged association with Boko Haram militants.

“They are victims of the conflict and it is crucial that they receive medical care, psychosocial support and other basic services that will help them to regain their dignity.

“Once that process of recovery has started, we can help them to return to their families and to school or learn new skills that will give them some hope for the future.

“When military screening is needed, children should only be held as a measure of last resort and for the shortest time possible in accordance with national and international standards.

“These children are first and foremost victims of the conflict and require support to recover from their experiences and reintegrate with their families and communities,’’ he said. 

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