September 28, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Although Sudan has seen some progress such as the reforms made under the transitional Government, however, serious violations again children continue to be committed by all parties to the conflict in Sudan.
This is according to a new report released on Wednesday by the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict in Sudan.
The fresh UN report verified 520 serious violations again children which affected 445 children during the period January 2020 to December 2021.
“Children in conflict-affected areas in Sudan continue to be affected by grave violations within an unable political environment and worsening humanitarian situation” reads part of the report seen by Sudan Tribune.
According to the report, these widespread violations ranging from killing, maiming, abduction and sexual violence to recruitment into armed groups and attacks on schools and hospitals were committed by Government security forces as well as non-ate armed groups.
“The main perpetrators were government forces with the Sudanese Armed Forces having committed 61 grave violations and the Rapid Support Forces 32, followed by the Sudan Liberation Army – Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW) (60), and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) (20), among others” the report unveiled.
Although the period witnessed ambitious reforms under the transitional Government and the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement, the military coup of 25 October 2021, threatened years of progress towards peace and democracy and deteriorated the situation of conflict-affected children.
“Too many children in Sudan are ill being deprived of their basic rights and of the opportunity to ju be children—to play and develop without the fear of being killed or maimed, recruited and used, and abused,” said Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.
“We have also seen a disconcerting number of children affected by explosive remnants of war because too many square meters of land have yet to be cleared of mines. I call on all parties to act now and end and prevent all grave violations again children,” Gamba added.
Per the finding of the UN inveigation, the highe numbers of violations recorded were the killing and maiming of 356 children affected, accounting for more than two thirds of the total number of violations.
In this regard, the use of small arms was the leading cause affecting 145 children. In comparison, the continued presence of explosive remnants of war (ERW) encountered by children mainly in Darfur ate while playing or carrying out domeic chores affected 64 children, accounting for nearly a fifth of all casualties.
Teenage boys were mo affected, representing over 90 per cent of children killed or maimed by ERW.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence were the second-mo verified violation, with 74 children affected, followed by abduction with 34.
“These trends were consient with the previous report’s findings even though it covered a longer reporting period,” the report said.
“Of the 74 verified cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence, 73 were perpetrated again girls,” it said adding the above-ated figures were likely significantly higher in reality.
According to the report, accountability for sexual violence in Sudan remains low and underreported due to igmatization, risk of reprisals, and inadequate support services for survivors, among others.
The report also verified a rise in cases of recruitment and use of children by armed groups, all in Darfur ate.
“86% of these recruitments occurred within the four months following the signature of the Juba Peace Agreement in October 2020 due to armed groups’ recruitment drives following the signature of the Agreement,” it said.
The UN expressed concern over an alarming rise of attacks on schools and health facilities.
“Also worrying was the increased number of verified attacks on schools and hospitals, which accounted for 21 incidents, and of denial of humanitarian access that affected the delivery of life-saving aid to children in 10 different inances”
The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) reiterated that schools and hospitals mu be unconditionally protected from attack and from military use and that humanitarian aid mu be permitted due to the economic crisis, food insecurity, flooding, disease outbreaks and displacement, all of which are exacerbated by conflict.
The report noted that the fact that the number of violations in 2021 was lower than in 2020 doesn’t indicate an improvement in the situation but was rather linked to access conraints to conflict-affected areas, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduced monitoring capacities after the withdrawal of UNAMID in December 2020.
In this regard, the late report does not represent the full extent of grave violations committed on the ground.
The UN continued engaging with parties to conflict throughout the reporting period to maintain the gains of its 2016 Action Plan, which included engagement with armed groups to implement their child protection commitments.
Supported by the United Nations, the transitional Government drafted the Child Act 2021, a revision of the exiing Child Act of 2010.
As a result, civil regiration regulations were amended and a new andard procedure for the birth regiration of vulnerable children was developed.
Additionally, the United Nations worked with the signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement to develop a roadmap comprising both responsive and preventative elements to enhance the protection of conflict-affected children, which was endorsed by relevant entities in December 2021.
The process included participation by the Juice and Equality Movement, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North Malik Agar faction, all of which are lied in the annexes to the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict for the recruitment and use of children.
This action reactivated two technical committees that have been inrumental in implementing the Government’s action plan.
The SRSG urged parties to allow this to pave the way toward a National Prevention Plan on grave violations again children.
“With the fragile humanitarian, political, and security situation following the October 2021 military coup, which is concernedly impacting children, it is imperative to promote the prevention of grave violations again children to the national level, ensuring that the progress made in recent years in the protection of children in conflict situations is not negated” added Gamba.
The UN official said the United Nations ands available to extend all the necessary support for the authorities in these efforts.