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UN envoy calls on Sudan to set up national plan to prevent use of child soldiers

March 1, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – UN Children and Armed Conflict envoy Virginia Gamba Thursday has called on the Sudanese government to establish a national plan for prevention of violence against children.

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Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, speaks to reporters in El Fasher, on 27 Feb 2018 (UNAMID Photo)

On Thursday, Gamba concluded a five-day visit to Sudan including North Darfur and South Kordofan to discuss issues related to children affected by armed conflict.

Before to leave the country she issued a statement saying she was satisfied by the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict signed with the government in March 2016.

However, she underscored the need to do more to ensure that all children in Sudan are and continue to be protected from violence.

"It is important to put in place a sustainable prevention framework across the country, including standardized training curriculum for armed forces, increasing accountability, strengthening birth registration, and building the capacity of social workers," Gamba said.

"Therefore I encourage the Government to transform its Action Plan into a National Plan for the prevention of violence against children," she further stressed.

Also, the international official urged the government to finalize the missing measures for the completion of its Action Plan, including the final development and the adoption of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the handover of children released from armed groups to civilian actors to allow swift reintegration, the institutionalization of a complaint mechanism for the people and the launching of an awareness campaign on all grave violations against children.

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

The armed groups In South Kordofan, Blue Nile states and Darfur region have signed a similar agreement with the UN agencies to end use of child soldiers.

On 23 November 2016 The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) signed an Action Plan with the United Nations to end use of child soldiers in the rebel-held areas in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

Also, in May 2015 the SLM/A-Minni Minnawi, SLM-Abdel Wahid 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).

(ST)