‘North Darfur tribal leaders agree to end use of child soldiers’: Unamid

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EL FASHER (13 Oct.) -

Unamid has welcomed a community-based strategic plan to end the use of children as fighters in inter and intra ethnic clashes.

The plan, initiated by Sheikh Musa Hilal, was endorsed by leaders from the Abbala, Beni Hussein, Fur, Tamma, Gimir and Awlad Janoub tribes in Kabkabiya, El Sareif Beni Hussein, Saraf Umra localities, and the areas of El Waha and Jebel Si in North Darfur, Unamid announced in a press release issued on Monday.

On 26 July last year, Hilal had already issued an order to the North Darfuri communities under his leadership to prohibit the use of children as combatants. Apart from the recruitment of minors, the former Janjaweed leader condemned sexual violence against children, the abduction and maiming of children, and attacks against schools and hospitals. He assured his full commitment and adherence to international norms and standards protecting children in situations of armed conflict.

The strategic plan proposes the establishment of an Implementation Follow-Up Committee, not only to raise awareness about the negative impact of using children as soldiers, but also to identify children who have served as fighters in the past, and to work with relevant organisations to reintegrate them into society.  

Unamid expects that the successful implementation of the plan will serve as “a platform to foster relations between communities, contribute to ending tribal clashes and enhance the protection of children”.

“We are glad to witness that communities are taking the lead role in protecting children who are the future of Sudan.  Unamid will continue to support on-going efforts to rid Darfur of child soldiering and other grave violations against children,” said Unamid Acting Head Abiodun Bashua.  

Since 2009, six parties to the conflict in Darfur have established action plans to end recruitment and use of child soldiers. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 former child soldiers have been registered to benefit from reintegration programs with the support of Sudan’s Disarmament Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, Unicef, and Unamid.

Photo: Child fighters in Darfur (RNW)

Source: Radio Dabanga


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