Public Statement by Chair of Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

SC/12936
1 August 2017

Public Statement by Chair of Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict

At its sixty-sixth meeting, on 22 June 2017, the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict, in connection with the examination of the fifth report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Sudan (S/2017/191), covering the period from 1 March 2011 to 31 December 2016, agreed to address the following messages through a public statement issued by the Chair of the Working Group.

To all the parties to the armed conflict in the Sudan

(a)   Strongly condemning all violations and abuses committed against children in the Sudan, and urging all parties to the armed conflict to immediately end and prevent all violations of applicable international law involving the recruitment and use of children, abduction, killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools and hospitals and denial of humanitarian access and to comply with their obligations under international law;

(b)   Calling upon the parties to further implement all previous conclusions of the Working Group with regard to the Sudan (S/AC.51/2007/5, S/AC.51/2008/7, S/AC.51/2009/5 and S/AC.51/2012/1);

(c)   Stressing the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict in Darfur and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States in order to improve the current situation of children affected by armed conflict, and in that regard noting the importance of the work of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel, the accelerated implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and the stated commitment of the Government of the Sudan to an inclusive national dialogue building on the Panel’s ongoing peace efforts, welcoming the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council to extend the Panel’s mandate for another year, also welcoming the Panel’s Roadmap Agreement, signed by both the Government and the opposition, and urging the signatory groups to implement it by working towards a negotiated permanent cessation of hostilities so as to facilitate humanitarian access and an open and inclusive political dialogue;

(d)   Welcoming the efforts made by the Government of the Sudan since the last conclusions of the Working Group, including the signature of an action plan for the protection of children from violations in March 2016, and calling upon the Government to swiftly and fully implement the action plan, including through releasing immediately all children from their ranks, the issuance of command orders by all security forces involved in the action plan, prohibiting and sanctioning recruitment and use of children and other violations and abuses against children, allowing access to all locations where the Government forces are present for the implementation of the action plan and facilitate the work of the country task force for monitoring and reporting regarding dialogue with armed groups operating in Sudan on action plan development and implementation to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children, in accordance with relevant provisions of the action plan;

(e)   Encouraging the Government to continue its efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of children in its armed and security forces, including through the establishment of strong age verification mechanisms in the recruitment process, and urging the Government to consider strengthening birth registration in the conflict-affected states as a priority to prevent child recruitment and use;

(f)   Stressing the importance of accountability for all violations and abuses against children in armed conflict, and calling upon the Government to continue its efforts to address impunity by ensuring that all perpetrators of violations and abuses are swiftly brought to justice and held accountable, including through timely and systematic investigation and prosecution, and to ensure that all victims have access to justice and to the medical and support services that they need;

(g)   Welcoming the release by the Government of 21 children detained by the National Intelligence and Security Service for association with armed groups, their handover to child protection actors and their reunification with their families, and encouraging the Government, with the support of the United Nations, to continue to support the reintegration of those children;

(h)   Strongly urging all armed groups to immediately release, without preconditions, all children from their ranks and end and prevent any further recruitment and use of children, including the re-recruitment of children who have been released;

(i)   Expressing concern about reports of cross-border recruitment and use of children by Sudanese and South Sudanese armed groups;

(j)   Expressing deep concern about the high number of children killed or maimed as a direct or indirect result of hostilities between parties to the armed conflict and of incidents of indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population in Darfur and the Two Areas, including those involving aerial bombardment, and calling upon all parties to the armed conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction and proportionality;

(k)   Expressing grave concern about the high number of cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against children in armed conflict, particularly in Darfur, while welcoming measures taken by the Government to bring perpetrators to justice and calling upon the Government to continue its efforts to address impunity and take relevant measures, urging all parties to the armed conflict to take immediate and specific measures to put an end to and prevent the perpetration of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children by members of their respective forces and groups, and stressing the importance of accountability for those who commit sexual violence;

(l)   Calling upon all parties to the armed conflict to comply with applicable international law and to respect the civilian character of schools and hospitals, including their personnel, and to end and prevent attacks or threats of attacks against those institutions and their personnel, as well as the military use of schools and hospitals, which are in violation of applicable international law;

(m)   Urging all parties to the armed conflict to cease the abduction of children and all violations and abuses committed against abducted children and to immediately release from captivity abducted children and hand them over to relevant civilian child protection actors;

(n)   While acknowledging improvement in humanitarian access in Darfur, expressing serious concern at the ongoing humanitarian situation in Darfur, and at the threats to and attacks on humanitarian personnel and facilities, and significant access challenges, and expressing serious concern that humanitarian access continued to be hampered in areas of Darfur due to ongoing hostilities as well as restrictions and bureaucratic impediments imposed by the Government, often on security grounds, in particular, access to areas not under the control of the government, such as areas of Jebel Marra remained extremely limited causing a significant negative impact on children in need of assistance;

(o)   Expressing serious concern that access by the United Nations and other humanitarian actors to vulnerable populations, including children, in areas in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N) since the conflict broke out in 2011 and adjacent areas continues to be restricted and that children living in conflict-affected areas are deprived of basic humanitarian assistance;

(p)   Urging all parties to the conflict, including the Government, the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) and SPLM/A-N, to immediately allow and facilitate full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to children, consistent with the United Nations guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance, including humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence, and the relevant provisions of international law and international humanitarian law, and to uphold and respect the humanitarian principles and the work of all United Nations humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors, without distinction;

(q)   Calling for the continued engagement of the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) with the United Nations to end and prevent violations and abuses against children, and urging them to abide by their commitments and to take all measures necessary to fully implement their respective action plans;

(r)   Welcoming the signature of an action plan by SPLM/A-N in November 2016 to end and prevent child recruitment and use, as well as its commitment to facilitating access by the United Nations to areas under its control, and urging SPLM/A-N to swiftly and fully implement that action plan and commitment and to abide by its commitment to facilitate access for the United Nations for monitoring progress and delivering humanitarian assistance to children, including vaccinations;

(s)   Urging SLA/AW to engage with the United Nations to end and prevent violations and abuses against children and to abide by its commitments and facilitate access to the United Nations to areas under its control, encouraging it to continue the dialogue with the United Nations and adopt an action plan to end child recruitment and use, and urging it to sign the Roadmap Agreement proposed by the African Union High-level Implementation Panel;

(t)   Recalling that the Security Council, by its resolution 2340 (2017), recalled the obligations to comply with the arms embargo in accordance with resolution 1591 (2005) and to implement the travel ban and asset freeze imposed under that resolution, which apply to individuals and entities designated pursuant to the listing criteria set out in paragraph 3 (c) of resolution 1591 (2005);

(u)   Expressing the readiness of the Working Group to communicate to the Security Council and to the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan pertinent information with a view to assisting them in the imposition of the sanctions on perpetrators.

For information media. Not an official record.