News from Africa

Significant step by Darfur armed group to end use of child soldiers

Human Rights

Témoignages.re / 27 September 2012

An action plan to put an end to the use of child soldiers has been put forward by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The establishment of the plan was agreed upon at consultations between JEM and former UNAMID Joint Special Representative / Joint Chief Mediator a.i Ibrahim Gambari, in Stadtschlaining, Austria in July 2012.

The plan, submitted to the United Nations on 25 September, includes the immediate release of children within JEM ranks, the prevention of recruitment and re-recruitment of children, and granting unhindered access to the UN to monitor and verify compliance. JEM is to designate a high-level focal point to liaise with the UN and to submit reports on the implementation of this plan.

JEM has now joined five other parties to the conflict in Darfur to have made such a commitment. The other groups include the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) Free Will, the JEM / Peace Wing, SLA / Abu Gasim, SLA / Historical Leadership and the Liberation and Justice Movement. Three of these action plans have been fully implemented.

“The African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) acknowledges and commends the efforts made by JEM to adhere to the international conventions that prohibit the involvement of children in armed conflicts,” said UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative Mohamed Yonis.

On 11 September 2012, JEM joined seven armed movements in Darfur in issuing a Commander Order prohibiting recruitment and use of child soldiers which has contributed to a decrease in the number of child soldiers in the region.

In resolution 2068 (2012), the Security Council on 19 September demanded that parties to armed conflict immediately halt the use and abuse of children and to take special measures to protect children. The Council expressed concern that certain perpetrators "persist in committing violations and abuses against children in situations of armed conflict in open disregard of the resolutions on the matter."

The UN Secretary-General’s latest report on children and armed conflict, released in June 2012, named 52 parties on its "list of shame" of those who recruit and use children.

EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, September 27, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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