The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/67/845–S/2013/245) issued on 15 May 2013.
During the reporting period, the country task force recorded 31 cases of recruitment and use of children: 11 by the Popular Defence Forces, 4 by the Central Reserve Police, 3 by JEM, 2 by the Sudanese Armed Forces and 11 by unidentified armed groups. Three boys between 14 and 17 years of age were abducted for recruitment purposes by JEM in northern Darfur, but managed to escape and were subsequently detained by the national armed forces before being released and reunited with their families.
In 2012, 62 children (44 boys and 18 girls) were killed and 57 (42 boys and 15 girls) injured during hostilities in Darfur. Of those children, 27 were killed by stray bullets during clashes between unidentified armed groups, 26 during air strikes by the national armed forces and 9 by unexploded ordnance. The increase in the number of child casualties — 119 children in 2012 compared with 71 children in 2011 — is attributed to the escalation of violence between government forces and armed groups during the reporting period, in addition to inter-ethnic fighting in various areas of Darfur.
The country task force reported 36 cases of rape of girls between 5 and 17 years of age in 2012. In areas under the Government’s control, several documented incidents of rape were attributed to government forces, including the national armed forces, the Central Reserve Police, the Popular Defence Forces, the police and the Border Intelligence Forces. Perpetrators also included unidentified armed men. These figures do not reflect the actual scope of sexual violence against children in Darfur, given that access to some areas remained limited.
In 2012, movement restrictions for humanitarian actors on security grounds continued to affect the delivery of assistance to children. Restrictions on movement by road from El Fasher to El Daein, for example, heavily affected humanitarian aid. On four separate occasions, refusal of clearance for humanitarian actors to gain access to areas not under the control of the Government impeded the provision of humanitarian assistance to children.
Among developments in the reporting period, a focal point to engage with the country task force on child protection concerns was appointed by JEM in January 2012. Following further consultations, on 11 September 2012, JEM issued a command order in which it prohibited the recruitment and use of children and, on 25 September 2012, it submitted to the United Nations a commitment to release children and to report on progress made. In November 2012, the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid also issued a command order in which it prohibited the recruitment and use of children. Sudanese Liberation Army/Historical Leadership submitted two progress reports in which it outlined steps taken towards ending recruitment and use of children. Although there were allegations of recruitment and use of children by that armed group during the reporting period, they could not be substantiated. Sudan Liberation Army/Free Will, JEM/Peace Wing and Sudan Liberation Army/Peace Wing have been removed from the annexes to the present report, since no information was available on recruitment and use of children by these groups in 2012, nor that the groups were militarily active.
The Government informed the country task force that the Ministry of Defence had approved the development of an action plan to end the recruitment and use of children, which would apply also to other groups affiliated with the national armed forces, including the Popular Defence Forces. That commitment was reiterated to a United Nations technical mission that visited the Sudan in April 2013.
In January 2012, the Government established a national human rights commission to monitor and investigate human rights and child rights violations. In January 2012, the Police Commissioner created a national coordination mechanism for family and children protection units. Efforts were also made by the police and its Family Child Protection Unit to investigate cases of violations against children, an exercise that resulted in the arrest of a number of alleged perpetrators. On 18 July 2012, for example, a court in Zalingei, Central Darfur, sentenced a soldier to 20 years’ imprisonment for the rape of an 8-year-old girl.
A list of 120 children released by Sudanese Liberation Army/Historical Leadership was submitted in 2011 to the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission and the United Nations. The registration process of these children began in January 2013. In addition, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur provided training on child rights and child protection to 118 commanders and combatants of the Liberation and Justice Movement in El Fasher and Nyala.
Three areas (South Kordofan, Blue Nile State and Abyei)
During the reporting period, 125 boys between 11 and 17 years of age were reportedly recruited and used by armed forces and armed groups in South Kordofan (31), Blue Nile State (46) and Abyei (48). Of those boys, 65 were reportedly recruited by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), 12 by the Popular Defence Forces and 48 by SPLA. In addition, the United Nations continued to receive allegations of recruitment and use of children by SPLM-N in areas not controlled by the Government. Verification of those allegations remained impossible, however, owing to access restrictions.
In 2012, the United Nations received reports that 31 children had been killed in Kadugli and 1 in South Kordofan/Abyei. In that regard, nine incidents of aerial bombardments and shelling resulted in the killing of 10 boys and 10 girls, some only a month old. Six incidents involving 15 children were attributed to the national armed forces, while three other incidents were attributed to SPLM-N. Three boys were killed and one maimed by unexploded ordnance. A total of 43 children were reportedly injured in South Kordofan (42) and Abyei (1): 41 as a result of aerial bombardments and shelling by the national armed forces and SPLM-N, 1 by crossfire and 1 by unexploded ordnance.
Although the Government allowed United Nations national staff limited access to the areas under its control for the delivery of humanitarian assistance, movement of international staff outside the capitals of South Kordofan and Blue Nile State was restricted. No humanitarian assistance could be delivered to children in areas held by SPLM-N. The Government continued to impose restrictions on access for humanitarian actors both in government-held and non-government-held areas in Blue Nile State and South Kordofan. Verification of reports of grave violations against children was impossible in areas not controlled by the Government.
In a verification process with the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, the United Nations supported the registration of 18 children formerly associated with armed groups, who were reunited with their families and received reintegration support. An additional 42 children escaped from an SPLM-N camp and were registered with the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme in Blue Nile State. During the reporting period, SPLM-N committed itself to engaging in dialogue with the United Nations to address the presence of children within its ranks.
Parties in the Sudan
- Government forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), the Sudan police forces (Border Intelligence Forces and Central Reserve Police) (a)
- Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) (a)
- Pro-Government militias (a)
- Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (a)
- Sudan Liberation Army/Historical Leadership (a)
- Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (a)
- Sudan Liberation Army/Mother Wing (Abu Gasim) (a)
- Sudan Liberation Army/Unity (a)
- Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) (a)