Leila Zerrougui, African Union-UN mission in Darfur welcome rebel group order to ban recruitment of child soldiers

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, joins the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to welcome an order by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement known as JEM that prohibits the recruitment and use of children in its ranks.

“I am encouraged by this new initiative and I hope it will be fully implemented,” said Leila Zerrougui.

“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 ‘Command 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 the press 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.

Source: UN News Center and Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict