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Sudan’s SPLM-N first African non-state signatory of Child Protection Deed

July 1 - 2015 GENEVA
SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman signs the Deed of Commitment protecting Children in Armed Conflict in Geneva, 30 June 2015 (Geneva Call)
SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman signs the Deed of Commitment protecting Children in Armed Conflict in Geneva, 30 June 2015 (Geneva Call)

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) on Monday signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict, becoming the first African armed non-State actor (ANSA) to commit to child protection through this mechanism.

The signing ceremony took place in Geneva, following several work sessions between representatives of the ANSA and Geneva Call to discuss the concrete implementation of the obligations under the Deed, a mechanism developed by Geneva Call, allowing groups that cannot become parties to international treaties, to agree on child protection.

SPLM-N Secretary-General Yasir Arman and SPLM-N Head of Political Training Orwa Hamdan Zeid signed the text, together with Geneva Call Executive Director Elisabeth Decrey Warner.

In a press release issued after the signing, the SPLM-N (calling itself SPLM-Sudan) states that it is “committed to prohibit the use of children in hostilities, ensure that children are not recruited into or forcibly associated with armed forces, release or disassociate children in safety and security, protect children from the effects of military operations, and do their best to provide children with the aid and care they need, in cooperation with specialised child protection agencies”.

Arman noted that SPLM-N two years ago established a commission on the protection of civilians, in particular women and children, as well as a special human rights court. “We will be delighted to receive a UN Team in our area to ensure and reaffirm the child protection status, and to verify our efforts,” he said.

All armed actors active in Sudan, including SPLM-N, have been accused by the UN of recruiting child soldiers. South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where the SPLM-N is military active, have been highly affected by the war that erupted in 2011 between the Sudanese army and the rebel group.

The SPLM-N has already signed the Deed of Commitment banning anti-personnel mines in 2013, and is in discussion about other humanitarian issues with Geneva Call.

(SPLM-N press release, Sudan Tribune)

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