Khartoum - “Government of Sudan (GoS) has met its commitment to the protection of children in armed conflicts according to the SG resolutions and international norms but
we are encouraging the government to do more,” said Olof Skoog, Sweden Permanent Representative in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Chair of the SC Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict who headed the SC mission to Sudan during 26-29 November 2017 on an invitation from GoS. Adding that at the same it is difficult to gauge the degree of the commitments of the armed rebel groups with these norms.
The delegation was composed of the nine Security Council members: Egypt, France, Italy, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The delegation met with senior government officials, including with the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Social Justice, the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW), the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission (DDR Commission) and the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), as well as with the Minister of Social Welfare of North Darfur and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Commander in North Darfur. The group also had the opportunity to engage with the Co-Chairs of the United Nations Country Task Force for Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) – RC/HC, UNAMID and UNICEF – as well as with the UN Country Team, NGOs working in the protection sector, and the international community, and applauds their important life-saving work on the ground.
In the meetings with women, children and community members in Sortony, the delegation had the chance to listen to the concerns of the community first-hand and understand the immense challenges displaced persons, particularly children, face in Sudan. The delegation also heard from protection partners about programmes to improve the situation.
In the meetings with women, children and community members in Sortony, the delegation had the chance to listen to the concerns of the community first-hand and understand the immense challenges displaced persons, particularly children, face in Sudan. The delegation also heard from protection partners about programmes to improve the situation. The Chair also met with four children formerly associated with armed groups and discussed their hopes and concerns. The Chair encourages the Government and the United Nations to ensure that these children are fully reintegrated.
The delegation was encouraged by the strong commitment of the Government to the Action Plan signed with the UN in March 2016 and the actions taken so far in cooperation with the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting, including the important work carried out by the High-Level Committee chaired by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Technical Committee, chaired by the Secretary General of NCCW. The delegation commended the measures taken to ensure that no children are recruited within the armed forces, and the access provided to the UN for monitoring and verification, including to military bases, training facilities and recruitment units. Furthermore, the delegation was very pleased by the commitment of the Government to continue and institutionalize the measures established under the Action Plan to prevent any recruitment of children into its forces.
In addition, the delegation was also encouraged by the current engagement of the CTFMR with other armed groups listed in the Secretary General’s report, in particular the progress on the Action Plans with SPLM/N, the SLA/MM, and JEM. The delegation also encouraged the non-state armed groups to end and prevent all violations against children, including the recruitment and use of children, and to allow humanitarian access.
The mission also encouraged international financial institutions and donors to provide support to programmes and initiatives aimed at protecting children affected by armed conflict in Sudan. And welcomed the formation of a Group of Friends on Children and Armed Conflict in Khartoum and encouraged the Group of Friends to follow up on the delegation’s visit.