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World’s highest! 2.4 million children out of school in South Sudan

Up to 2.4 million children in South Sudan are not receiving an education – the highest proportion of out of school children in the world. Years of conflict, displacement and economic collapse continue to deprive children of education, harming the future of the country

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Up to 2.4 million children in South Sudan are not receiving an education – the highest proportion of out of school children in the world. Years of conflict, displacement and economic collapse continue to deprive children of education, harming the future of the country.

New data in the Global Initiative on Out of School Children South Sudan Country Study estimates that up to 2.4 million children are not attending school in South Sudan. In just two years the number of children not in school will increase by a further 200,000, to 2.6 million, if conditions in the country do not significantly improve, the study warns.

“We cannot leave children behind. They are the future of South Sudan,” said Sardar Umar Alam, UNESCO’s Representative to South Sudan. “We must work together – everyone including the government, civil society and development partners – to urgently support and invest in teachers and getting children into schools.”

Read Also: In Malawi, alleged $3.9m bribe hunts Mutharika’s presidency

The study mapped major barriers and challenges keeping children from going to school. Displacement, recruitment by armed forces and groups, poverty, and child labor were cited as major risks to children’s education.

It calls for greater investments in collecting education data to allow for evidence-based activities while stressing the importance of functional schools with clean water, books, trained teachers and a safe learning environment free from conflict.

“Investing in education is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “Educated children are able to build a better future for themselves, and the country.”

Politics

Senegalese opposition condemns President Sall’s ‘slow’ election date announcement

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The opposition presidential contenders in Senegal have claimed that the government is taking too long to announce a new date for the poll, following a court ruling that declared a 10-month postponement to be illegal.

This occurs just a few days after President Macky Sall pledged to comply with the Constitutional Council’s position that the election be held as soon as feasible following the parliament’s resolution to reschedule the election—which was initially set for February 25—was overruled by the court.

The situation in one of the more stable democracies in coup-hit West Africa led to violent public protests and threats of authoritarian overreach, and Sall came under intense pressure both domestically and internationally to accept the council’s decision.

However, no new date has been announced, which has angered opposition candidates who want the election to happen before Sall’s term expires on April 2.

In a joint statement released late on Tuesday, sixteen out of the nineteen presidential candidates bemoaned the “inexplicable slowness” with which the council’s decision was implemented.

It was their contention that Sall’s tardy return to electoral duty demonstrated his reluctance to initiate a process that would result in a transfer of power. A request for response from the presidency was not answered.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Justice Minister Aïssata Tall Sall said that there was room for discussion over the expiration of Sall’s mandate on April 2.

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South Africa wants Israel’s ‘occupation’ of Palestinian territories declared illegal

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South Africa is back at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Israel’s role in the ongoing Hamas war. On Tuesday, Johannesburg asked the World Court to issue a non-binding legal opinion that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal.

South Africa argued that the proclamation would help efforts to reach a settlement as its representative opened the second day of hearings at the court in the Hague.

Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands told the judges that “a clear legal characterization of the nature of Israel’s regime over the Palestinian people can only assist in remedying the ongoing delay and achieving a just settlement.”

Palestinian delegates asked the U.N.’s top court on Monday to declare Israel’s occupation of their territory illegal, adding that the advisory opinion of the court might help bring about a durable peace and a two-state solution.

Israel sent a written statement claiming that an advisory opinion would be detrimental to reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, despite not being present at the hearings.

The most recent wave of violence in Gaza, which was sparked by Hamas’s attacks on Israel on October 7, has exacerbated the region’s long-standing grievances and harmed attempts to find a peaceful solution.

The ICJ’s fifteen-member panel was tasked with “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures.”

It is anticipated that the judges will take about half a year to respond to the request, which also asks them to evaluate the implications of the occupation’s legal standing.

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