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UN and Darfur rebels to sign accord against child soldiers

July 19 - 2010 GENEVA

The Justice and Equality Movement expects on Wednesday in Geneva to sign an agreement with UNICEF to protect children and prevent their exploitation as soldiers. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, which sponsored the talks between the two parties, said in a statement that as part of the accord the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will be able to access all rebel sites in order to monitor JEM’s implementation of the agreement.

In an interview the rebel spokesman Ahmed Hussein said that the accord was purely an initiative of the movement. From another perspective, Dennis McNamara, a representative of the Humanitarian Dialogue centre, said in a written statement "This is a very important and positive step. It is the result of more than a year's worth of dialogue between the U.N. agencies and JEM, sponsored by the Humanitarian Dialogue Centre." The rebels themselves have responsibility to actually demobilize any child soldiers and prevent their recruitment. The Director of UNICEF in Sudan, Nils Kastberg, will represent his organization at the signing ceremony on Wednesday in Geneva, while the delegation of the Justice and Equality Movement will be headed by JEM humanitarian affairs coordinator Suleiman Jamous, according to Ahmed Hussein.

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