Human Rights Watch shows that thousands of children serve as soldiers in armed conflicts around the world. These children, starting from as young as 8 years old, are recruited into both government forces and armed opposition groups. Some take part in suicide missions; others act as spies and messengers with the assurance of survival from armed groups. On 27 March , however, Sudan and the United Nations signed an Action Plan aimed at protecting the rights and well-being of children against armed conflict – a development which has attracted commendation by the United Nations envoy on children and armed conflict as the organisation describes the move as an important milestone for child protection in Sudan.
The Sudan’s State Minister of Social Welfare Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim signed the action plan on behalf of the Government has assured that Sudan will put in the necessary steps in protecting the rights of children in areas of conflicts.
“We will work to promote and protect children’s rights in areas of armed conflict and displacement. We are also committed to strengthen existing mechanisms that are included in the Child Act of 2010 and the Sudan Armed Forces law,” he said.
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In announcing the recent measure, Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Bilal condemned rebel fighters for resorting to child soldiers in the armed conflicts against government.
“Maybe eight or seven years ago, we arrested about 83 of the children. We didn’t bring them to court because they were under age, and they are still using the children,” Bilal stated.
Meanwhile the United Nations has condemned both rebels and the government over reported recruitment of child soldiers. Rebel group – Justice and Equality Movement – has agreed to allow U.N. visits to JEM bases – a move intended to show that the group has not being recruiting child soldiers.