Children Not Soldiers: Sudan Fact Sheet

The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) issued on 20 April 2016.

Three areas: Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Abyei

Clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) continued in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States and attacks against civilians were reported. The most recent round of peace talks between the two parties, convened in November, produced little progress. Intercommunal violence also occurred, including in Abyei. In addition, the period featured activities by armed groups along the border with South Sudan. Owing to access limitations, the United Nations was unable to verify allegations and figures may be underreported.

The United Nations documented four cases of recruitment and use of children by the Sudanese Armed Forces. As noted in my previous report (A/69/926-S/2015/409), cross-border activities by armed groups continued and two boys were recruited by SPLM-N from refugee settlements in South Sudan.

The United Nations documented 28 incidents of killing and maiming, mostly perpetrated by the Sudanese Armed Forces (16) and SPLM-N (6), affecting 43 and 38 children, respectively. Most incidents were caused by attacks on civilians by government forces and SPLM-N, aerial bombardment, shelling and crossfire. Two were also the result of tribal clashes and explosive remnants of war. In addition, the United Nations documented the killing and maiming of four girls in a Sudanese Armed Forces aerial bombardment in South Sudan.

The rapes of four girls and one boy by Sudanese Armed Forces elements and aligned militias were documented. Sexual violence against children remained a grave concern and the numbers are believed to be underreported owing to a lack of access.

Seven incidents of attacks on schools (two), hospitals (three) and protected personnel (two) were attributed to the Sudanese Armed Forces (two), SPLM-N (two) and unknown perpetrators. Two incidents occurred during clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces and SPLM-N. For example, on 20 January, a hospital operated by Médecins sans frontières in the Nuba mountains was reportedly bombed by the Sudanese Armed Forces. A medical staff member and a teacher were reportedly killed in April in Western Kordofan by SPLM-N.

The United Nations documented the abduction of eight children, including five in Abyei, that occurred during Misseriya attacks on Ngok Dinka villages in January and March. The children were released and reunited with their families following engagement by the United Nations. Three other boys were reportedly abducted by SPLM-N, including two in South Sudan.

The Government continued to restrict humanitarian access, resulting in an estimated 165,000 children being deprived of immunization.


The period witnessed continued confrontations between government security forces and armed groups, especially in the Jebel Marra area, which led to significant displacement. The situation, exacerbated by aerial bombardment and increasingly deadly intertribal clashes, resulted in grave violations against children.

The country task force on monitoring and reporting verified the recruitment of four boys by the Sudanese Armed Forces in West Darfur, including one who reportedly participated in fighting between the Abbas faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Armed Forces in June. More allegations were received involving the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Government’s Rapid Support Forces, which could not be verified. In addition, the United Nations documented the recruitment of six children by JEM from refugee settlements in Unity State, South Sudan. During her visit in March 2016, my Special Representative was given access to 21 children detained by the National Intelligence and Security Service since April and August 2015 for their alleged association with JEM. The children had allegedly been recruited in Southern Kordofan and South Sudan and used in combat in Darfur and South Sudan. My Special Representative advocated further access by the United Nations to the children and their release and reunification with their families.

Killing and maiming accounted for the majority of verified violations (196). Some 50 per cent of the children were killed (21) and maimed (74) by explosive remnants of war, but casualties also resulted from indiscriminate shooting, intercommunal clashes in East Darfur and aerial bombardments. A number of cases in restricted areas could not be documented.

Forty-five incidents of sexual violence affecting 60 children, including a boy, were verified and attributed to unidentified armed men (35), militias (13), the Rapid Support Forces (5), armed nomads (3), the Sudanese Armed Forces (2) and the police and JEM-Wing for Peace (1 each). In addition, the United Nations in South Sudan documented three incidents by JEM affecting 12 children.

Thirteen schools were damaged or looted by the Central Reserve Police and the Rapid Support Forces, but also during Sudanese Armed Forces aerial bombardments and intertribal clashes. All but one of the incidents took place in the eastern Jebel Marra. In two additional incidents, school personnel were threatened by elements of the Rapid Support Forces. Two attacks on hospitals and protected personnel were attributed to the Rapid Support Forces and the Central Reserve Police.

Humanitarian access, in particular to Jebel Marra, remained heavily restricted, which impeded efforts to reach affected communities, including children.

The country task force on reporting and monitoring engaged with armed groups and a command order prohibiting the recruitment and use of children was issued by JEM in September. In addition, my Special Representative met the leaders of JEM, the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid in Austria in May, in consultations organized by the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur and the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution. The leaders of the groups issued a joint statement with a commitment to stop and prevent grave violations against children. Lastly, in June SPLM-N signed Geneva Call’s Deed of Commitment for the Protection of Children from the Effects of Armed Conflict.

In March 2016, my Special Representative visited the Sudan and witnessed the signing of an action plan by the Government to end and prevent child recruitment and use in its security forces. I welcome that step and count on the Government to ensure the swift and full implementation of the action plan.

The country task force on monitoring and reporting provided technical support to government personnel and local communities through awareness-raising, the development of referral pathways and community-based child protection networks. Although impunity for grave violations continued to be a concern, there was progress, with arrests being made for sexual violence and the killing and maiming of children. I call upon the Government to ensure accountability for all grave violations.

Parties in Sudan

  1. Government security forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces, the Popular Defence Forces and the Sudan Police Forcesa,• This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
  2. Justice and Equality Movementa
  3. Pro-Government militiasa
  4. Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahida
  5. Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawia
  6. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Northa

*The parties underlined have been in the annexes for at least five years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators.

(a) Parties that recruit and use children.


annual report summary

Click to read a summary of the Annual Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict