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African Union-UN mission in Darfur welcomes rebel group order to ban recruitment of child soldiers

August - November 2019

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African Union-UN mission in Darfur welcomes rebel group order to ban recruitment of child soldiers

Child soldiers released in South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/2015/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich
Child soldiers released in South Sudan. Photo: UNICEF/2015/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich

The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today welcomed as a “significant step” an order by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement known as JEM that prohibits the recruitment and use of children in its ranks.

“This is a significant step towards phasing out this negative phenomenon in the Darfur conflict. UNAMID shall continue to engage all parties to the conflict for an end to all forms of violations against children,” said the Mission’s Acting Joint Special Representative Abiodun Bashua.

The recruitment and use of children is considered a serious crime under international law and the Sudan Child Act of 2010.

In a so-called ‘Commanding Order’ issued on 30 September, the JEM leadership instructs all the armed movement’s members to adhere to the international norms and standards governing the protection of children and observe all the provisions of UN Security Council resolutions on children in armed conflict, according to thepress release issued in El Fasher, Darfur.

The JEM leadership also called upon its field commanders to extensively disseminate the order, which followed a meeting that brought together the JEM with two other rebel groups – the Sudan Liberation Movement /Abdul Wahid and Sudan Liberation Movement /Minni Minawi – with the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui in Austria on 27 and 28 May 2015.

As an outcome, these Darfuri armed movements issued a Joint Statement in which they committed to continue to take all necessary steps to protect children.