UNICEF and Chad sign agreement to demobilize child soldiers

10 May 2007 –

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reached an agreement with the Government of Chad for the demobilization of child soldiers across the African country.

“UNICEF places the utmost importance on the protection of children, especially those affected by conflict,” said UNICEF Representative Stephen Adkisson.

He signed the accord, which builds on Chad’s commitment to the Paris Protocols reached last February to demobilize child soldiers, yesterday in N’Djamena, the country’s capital, with Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Djidda Moussa Outman.

The Minister reiterated his country’s commitment to the Protocols and said that his Government will work with organizations such as UNICEF to help former child soldiers reintegrate into society.

UNICEF will assist the Government’s national programme releasing children from armed groups, and offer them support and aid in reintegrating into their communities. This programme will also help Sudanese children who can return to their homeland.

Less than a week ago, approximately 300 soldiers were identified in the Guera region.

According to informed sources, the rebel group Forces Unies pour le Changement, which recently reached a peace deal with the Government, has more than 1,000 child soldiers within its ranks, and negotiations are currently underway for their demobilization and return to civilian life with their families.

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