Panafrican News Agency

UN official calls Sudanese rivals to strengthen efforts on child protection

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Children and Armed Conflict has expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the implementation of the Action Plan, signed two years ago, to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.

Virginia Gamba, has stressed in a statement in Khartoum that “The engagement of the Sudanese Government on the Action Plan with the United Nations is encouraging; we are close to completion.”

Following a five-day visit to the Sudan including Darfur and South Kordufan, Ms. Gamba said that the UN hopes that “Sudan will soon join Chad, Ivory Coast, Nepal and other countries who have completed their Action Plans and will become a champion of child protection at the regional level.”

The statement made available to PANA in Khartoum said the progress includes the issuance of command orders by all Government security forces and allowing dialogue between the United Nations and non-state armed groups who are also engaged in Action Plans with the United Nations.

The UN official cited the access allowed for joint UN-Government monitoring and verification missions, and training of security forces in all conflict states in 2017. UNICEF has also had access to children released from armed groups to support reintegration.

"It is imperative that access to ensure both the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the verification necessary for monitoring continue to be assured," it emphasized.

The statement, howeve,r stressed that despite the good news, violence still affects hundreds of children across Sudan, particularly in the region of Darfur.

“I encourage the Government and people of Sudan to be consistent in their efforts to ensure that everywhere in Sudan, from Blue Nile State to North Darfur, children can be children, play and go to school in an environment free from fear and violence, an environment which allows them to study and dream of a better future,” Ms. Gamba said.

The SRSG has also encouraged the Government to speedily complete the missing measures for the completion of its Action Plan, including the final development and the adoption of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the handover of children released from armed groups to civilian actors to allow swift reintegration, the institutionalization of a complaint mechanism for the people and the launch of an awareness campaign on all grave violations against children.

“It is important to put in place a sustainable prevention framework across the country, including standardized training curriculum for armed forces, increasing accountability, strengthening birth registration, and building the capacity of social workers. And therefore I encourage the Government to transform its Action Plan into a National Plan for the prevention of violence against children,” she stressed.

Ms. Gamba commended the work of the Sudan Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR), in particular its co-chairs - the Resident Coordinator, UNAMID and UNICEF - for its excellent work in the midst of decreasing resources.

She urged the Government to continue to allow access to the UN wherever and whenever violations may occur.

-0- PANA MA/AR 1Mar2018