SUDAN: Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict.


SRSG Coomaraswamy.

5 July 2011.


I welcome the efforts of the Governments of the Sudan and Southern Sudan to strengthen the legislative framework for the protection of children. The adoption of the Federal Child Act, the Sudan Armed Forces Act and Southern Sudan’s Child Act constitute significant milestones in the creation of a protective environment for children affected by armed conflict. Concrete and practical steps, including the establishment of a child rights unit in SAF, the child protection unit of SPLA and the Sudanese police family and child protection units, will help to raise awareness of child rights and welfare in the security forces. I call upon the Governments of the Sudan and Southern Sudan to continue their commitment to the dissemination and implementation of child protection legislation, including at the State level, and urge both to ensure that sufficient resources are dedicated to the mainstreaming of child protection throughout their security forces.

While important steps have been taken by the Government of the Sudan, to ensure the protection of children, steps must also be taken as a matter of urgency to address the continued presence of children in SAF and its associated forces. The commitment of the Government of the Sudan to the completion of an action plan to end the recruitment and use of children is noted and appreciated; I urge the Government to accelerate its dialogue with the United Nations with a view to developing a concrete time-bound plan, in line with Security Council resolution 1612 (2005).

I also welcome the signing of the action plan by SPLA in November 2009 to end the recruitment and use of children, as well as the progress made in terms of the release of children. I urge SPLA to renew its formal commitment to the action plan and to fully implement it as a matter of priority. The action plan constitutes an important step towards the professionalization of SPLA ahead of its transformation into the armed forces of the future State of South Sudan.

In addition, I welcome the signing of action plans by SLA-Free Will, SLA-Mother Wing (Abu Gasim) and JEM-Peace Wing, as well as the progress made by parties in releasing children. I urge those parties, as well as previous signatories to action plans, including SLA-Minni Minawi, to ensure the full implementation of these plans, including by providing full and unimpeded access for United Nations verification. In addition, I call upon all parties non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement, including SLA-Abdul Wahid and JEM, to establish time-bound action plans to end the recruitment and use of children, and remind them of their obligation under international law to immediately release children from their ranks.

The United Nations will continue its effort to reach out to all other armed groups listed in the annex to my annual report on children and armed conflict in order to elicit commitments on action plans to end the recruitment and use of children. I remind these groups of their obligation under international law to cease the recruitment and use of children and to actively identify and immediately release to the United Nations those children already in their ranks.

Southern Sudan will become an independent State on 9 July 2011, in a complex and fragile internal and regional environment. The volatility of the security situation along the border, intercommunal clashes and periodic incursions by LRA mean that children have been, and will likely continue to be, exposed to violence. Looking ahead, I urge the Government of the Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan to make every effort to ensure that child protection is factored into military operations. In addition, I urge the Government of Southern Sudan to mainstream child protection into its plans to reform the security sector and strengthen State capacity to protect civilians.

For its part, the follow-on United Nations mission in South Sudan should have sufficient resources dedicated to assisting the Government in the protection of children. Key tasks will include supporting the completion of the SPLA action plan, continued monitoring and reporting on grave violations against children, mainstreaming child protection within the United Nations mission, and contributing to the mission’s strategy for the protection of civilians.

The re-recruitment of children who have been separated from armed forces or groups is a real risk that can be addressed only through the provision of support for the long-term reintegration of children. I encourage donors working alongside the United Nations system to support efforts by the Sudanese authorities to reintegrate former child soldiers.

I remain deeply concerned about the imposition of the death penalty on children associated with armed groups in Darfur, in contravention of the provisions of the Federal Child Act and international norms. While it took place outside the period covered in the present report, I am encouraged by the Supreme Court’s recent dismissal of the death sentence imposed by the Nyala Special Court referred to in paragraph 69 above, and urge the Government to strictly implement its national laws with regard to the prohibition of capital punishment of children.

Reports of the rape of and sexual violence against children in conflict-affected areas are a continued concern. I call on the national authorities to end impunity through rigorous and timely investigation and prosecution, with the allocation of additional resources, to strengthen prevention and provide appropriate responses at the State and county levels.

I am deeply concerned that, as a result of fighting between the parties to the conflict and inter-ethnic clashes, the United Nations is often being denied access to certain areas in Darfur and the Three Areas. In this regard, I urge the Government to ensure full, unimpeded and secure access for humanitarian assistance to children.

Finally, I wish to thank the country task force in the Sudan, including staff of UNMIS, UNAMID and UNICEF, for the work that they have undertaken to assist the Sudanese in building a protective environment for Sudanese children affected by conflict. (paragraphs 82 to 93)



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