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SPLM-N signs UN Plan of Action to end use of child soldiers

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SPLM-N Chairman Malik Agar (R) poses with UN Resident Coordinator Marta Ruedas and UNICEF Representative Abdullah Fadil in Geneva on 23 Nov 2016. (Photo UN/Violaine Martin)
November 23, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) Wednesday signed an agreement with the United Nations to end use of child soldiers in the rebel held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The United Nations signed this agreement with the Sudanese government security forces including the Sudan Armed Forces, the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and the Sudan Police Forces on 27 March 2016.

In a meeting held Geneva, SPLM-N chairman Malik Agar signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in conflict.

The signing ceremony took place in presence of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, UNICEF Sudan and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

the plan of action criminalize the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and provides to stop and prevent child recruitment and to release any recruited children. It also allow the UN inspectors to have regular and unimpeded access to military camps to verify that no children are enrolled.

Following the signing ceremony, SPLMN-N leader Agar assured the UN agencies to protect children right.

“SPLM-N is firmly committed to the protection of children in conflict and today’s signing is a continuity of that commitment”, Agar said.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) signed this agreement with the United Nation on 2 November 2009 before South Sudan’s secession when the northern faction was part of the South Sudan ruling party.

Leila Zerrougui, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict who witnessed the signature, applauded the Sudanese rebel group for inking this agreement, and pointed that the government has already committed itself to implement it.

“This Action Plan is a promise for a more protected future for children growing up in difficult conditions. I look forward to its full implementation and reiterate my full support to the SPLM-N to reach this objective,” Zerrougui further said.

The UN Resident Coordinator Marta Ruedas and UNICEF Representative in Sudan Adbullah A. Fadil welcomed the SPLM-N’s commitment to prevent children recruitment and expressed their readiness to " support the full implementation of this Action Plan".

Several rebel groups in Darfur region are signatory of this agreement withthe United Nations, such as the Sudan Liberation Army Minnawi (SLA Minnawi) – 11 June 2007; Sudan Liberation Army Free Will (SLA/Free Will) – June 2010; Sudan Liberation Army Abu Gasim (SLA/Abu Gasim) – August 2010.

(ST)

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