SUDAN AND UN AGREE TO EXTEND ACTION PLAN FOR PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT

KHARTOUM – The Government of Sudan and the United Nations this week agreed to extend for six months the Action Plan for the Protection of Children from Violations in Armed Conflict.

The Government of the Sudan appreciates the constructive cooperation with The United Nations and other partners to fulfil the commitments made in the Action Plan. The Government stress its continued commitment to enhance and protect all children’s rights affected by emergencies and conflicts without any discrimination said Mrs. Souad Abdulaal Altahir, Secretary General for the National Council for Child Welfare.

Originally signed by the Government and the UN on 27 March 2016 for an initial period of 12 months until full compliance, the Action Plan set out a series of measures to enhance the overall protection of children affected by armed conflict, including the cessation and prevention of child recruitment.

The three co-chairs of the United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, Bintou Keita, Deputy Joint Special Representative for the hybrid African Union – United Nations Operation in Darfur, Marta Ruedas, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative welcomed the Government’s positive response to extend the mandate of the High Level Committee for six months and emphasized that, This agreement acknowledges the substantial progress already made towards implementation and reaffirms the commitment of the Government and the UN to continue to jointly work together for the rights of children in Sudan.

Key milestones in implementation include the Government’s release of 21 children formerly associated with armed groups and their receipt of presidential pardons. In addition, the Government has enacted laws and policies to prevent the recruitment and use of children in its forces, and provided the UN access for the purposes of monitoring and verification. Meanwhile, the Vice-President engaged with Walis (state governors) on the need to support implementation at the state level.

The United Nations will work together with the Government to address remaining gaps in the full implementation of the Action Plan. Key steps remaining include continued monitoring in all states; the establishment of clear procedures for identification and screening of any children in the Armed Forces; and the implementation of complaint procedures and awareness-raising activities.

The UN continues to work with the armed groups listed in the Secretary-General’s report on Children and Armed Conflict. Notably, the SPLM-North on 23 November, 2016 signed an Action Plan to end the recruitment and use of children. JEM and SLA/Minni Minawi have expressed their commitment to engage with the UN to address any recruitment and use of children in their ranks.

Source: African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)