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Minnawi warns his fighters against the use of child soldiers in Darfur

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August 22, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) reiterated its commitment to international standards prohibiting the use of children as soldiers and warned that disciplinary measures will be taken against the violation of this directive.

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Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army led by Minni Minnawi (Photo: Reuters)

"The Leadership of SLM/A fully adheres to the international norms and standards protecting child against violations including recruitment and use of the child soldiers by all parties to conflict and hereby instructs the following Command order," reads a directive signed by Minni Minnawi extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday.

The rebel leader, consequently, directed his commanders to disseminate this order and to monitor its implementation on the ground and to report to him on compliance, stressing that anyone who breaks or fails to comply with this order will be met with "stringent disciplinary measures".

" Recruitment and use of child soldiers is a serious crime prohibited by international law and the Sudan child act of 2010 (para 44)," he said.

Different international organisations and rights groups worked during the past years to protect children in Darfur who are seen among the most severely affected by the armed conflict in Darfur.

The hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID worked with the armed groups and the government army and its militias to stop the use of child soldiers.

In December 2013, the UNAMID, UN African Union Mediation for Peace in Darfur and IGAD held a technical workshop held in Addis Ababa attended by SLM/A leadership.

Also, in May 2015 the SLM/A-MM, SLM/A led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) acknowledged their responsibility for the protection of children and pledged to observe the international standards prohibiting the use of children as soldiers as defined by the Cape Town Principles of 1997 and the Paris Principles of 2007.

The three armed groups made their pledge in a meeting held in Stadtschlaining, Austria, organised by the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in coordination with the (UNAMID), and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (SRSG-CAAC).

According to the UN agencies, some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since the conflict began in 2003, Also they say that over 2.5 million displaced persons are still in the camps.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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