UN: UNAMID launches campaign against recruitment of child soldiers in Darfur

New York, US (PANA) -  The UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has launched a campaign
throughout the western region of Sudan against the recruitment of children as soldiers with
an event that was attended by more than 1,000 people.

A UN statement obtained by PANA in New York on Monday said the campaign was held in
conjunction with the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission
and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

It stated that the event saw performances of songs as a show of solidarity with issues
related to the protection of children, and clothing was distributed bearing messages
promoting peace and protection of children, and against the use of child soldiers.

It quoted Boubacar Dieng, Head of UNAMID’s Children Protection Unit, as saying:
"The protection of children will not be complete without peace in Darfur, and we believe
that with your continued support, child protection is in progress."

Also, the Head of UNAMID Sector North, Mohamed El-Amine Souef, stressed the
mission’s focus on protection of civilians, delivering humanitarian assistance and
contributing to peace and reconciliation.

According to the statement, Sheikh Musa Hilal, a tribal leader, called on the humanitarian
community, UNAMID and the UN agencies to engage in further activities in the field of
development in the region.

He reiterated a "Command Order", he issued on 26 July 2013 prohibiting communities
under his leadership from using children in tribal clashes and underlined his commitment
to a community-based "Strategic Plan" against child soldiering initiated by him on
6 October 2014.

He noted that the strategic plan establishes 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 past ethnic conflicts and to work
with relevant organisations to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society, including
through access to education and vocational training skills.

The plan is supported by UNAMID, which expects that its successful implementation
will foster relations between communities, contribute to ending tribal clashes and
enhance protection of children.

Since 2009 six parties to the conflict in Darfur have established action plans to end recruitment and use of child soldiers, and nine have issued command orders prohibiting the practice.

Meanwhile, more than 1,200 former child soldiers have been registered to benefit from
reintegration programmes with the support of Sudan’s Disarmament Demobilisation and
Reintegration Commission, UNICEF and UNAMID.
-0-   PANA  AA/AR  1Dec2014

01 december 2014 19:25:49

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