Protecting civilians in armed conflict
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First African signatory to the Deed of Commitment protecting children in armed conflict

30th June 2015 | Sudan - Child protection

The SPLM (Sudan) has committed to prohibiting the use of children in hostilities and to ensuring that children are not recruited into or forcibly associated with armed forces. Following several meetings and work sessions between the SPLM (Sudan) representatives and Geneva Call’s staff, to discuss the concrete implementation of the obligations under this Deed, the signing ceremony took place in Geneva. The SPLM (Sudan) has thus also committed to releasing or disassociating children in safety and security, to protecting them from the effects of military operations, and to doing its best to provide children with the aid and care they need, in cooperation with specialized child protection agencies.

The SPLM (Sudan) delegation was composed of Mr Yasir Arman, Secretary General, Mr Orwa Hamdan Zaid, Head of Political Training, Mr Mohamed Yassin, the SPLM Representative to Italy, and Mrs Nagwa Konda, from the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (SRRA). The SPLM (Sudan) will also train its troops on the respect of child protection norms, an endeavour in which they will be supported by Geneva Call.

Yasir Arman, SPLM (Sudan) Secretary-General stated that “The SPLM (Sudan) is a mature national liberation movement with a very clear objective and mission. We are honoured to be the first African armed non-State actor to sign with Geneva Call on the child protection issue, which is part of our mission and vision. The SPLM (Sudan) has already established, two years ago, a Commission on child, women and civilian protection, as well as a Special Court for Human Rights. We will be delighted to receive a United Nations’ Team into our area to ensure and reaffirm the child protection status and to verify our efforts.”

The recruitment and use of children in the armed conflicts in Sudan have been widely reported, and all the armed actors active in Sudan, including the SPLM (Sudan), have been accused of using and recruiting children in the UN Secretary-General’s report to the Security Council.

“We are very pleased to have received this commitment towards better protection of children in conflict. Today, after several months of preparation and discussion, we believe that the SPLM (Sudan) will be able to fulfill its commitment and protect children in areas where it is active. We call on international organizations to provide the necessary support to children in need in these regions and to contribute to the transparent and fair monitoring that is so important to this process,” said Elisabeth Decrey Warner, Executive President of Geneva Call.

The SPLM (Sudan) is militarily active in the Sudanese provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. These two areas have been severely affected by the armed conflict that erupted there in 2011 between the SPLM (Sudan) and the Sudanese armed forces. Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in this conflict.

The SPLM (Sudan) signed the Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel mines as the SPLM-N in August 2013, and it remains engaged in dialogue with Geneva Call on other humanitarian issues