The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/69/926–S/2015/409) issued on 5 June 2015.
Conflict continued in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where large areas remained inaccessible, especially those under the control of armed groups. After several months of political deadlock, fighting intensified during the first quarter of 2014. The Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation MovementNorth (SPLM-N) resumed talks in November in Addis Ababa under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, but negotiations were suspended indefinitely by early December.
In April and December, the Government launched two phases of its “Decisive Summer” campaign to regain control of areas controlled by SPLM-N. This resulted in new waves of mass displacement. Tribal fighting was also observed, particularly in West Kordofan, with one verified incident in November of clashes breaking out among members of two Misseryia sub-clans in which at least 40 children were reportedly killed or injured. The disputed area of Abyei also witnessed continuing tensions.
The United Nations verified the recruitment of 60 boys aged 14 to 17 years by the JEM (55) and SPLM-N (5). All but 3 of them occurred during a forced recruitment campaign in refugee settlements in Unity State in South Sudan. Unverified information was received about an additional 9 boys recruited by JEM in that same period. Although no new recruitment cases by Sudanese Armed Forces were verified, the United Nations received credible information of recruitment and use of children by the Popular Defence Forces. Large areas of those states were inaccessible, which limited United Nations ability to monitor allegations in order to reflect the full extent of violations.
At least 12 incidents (2 verified) were reported, in which 62 children, aged 5 to 17 years, were killed or maimed. A boy was killed in the SPLM-N shelling of Kadugli in May and another boy died in an explosive remnants of war incident. Twenty-eight children (9 girls, 19 boys) were reportedly killed and 32 injured (7 girls, 25 boys) in the shelling by the armed forces of SPLM-N-controlled areas. A further 42 children were reportedly killed or maimed as a result of tribal clashes.
Four boys, all South Sudanese refugees, were abducted by Arab men in El Muglad locality, West Kordofan, and kept in captivity for approximately six months. They were released and reunified with their families in August following negotiations by the Sudan Police Family and Child Protection Unit.
One school and two hospitals run by NGOs were severely damaged in aerial bombardments by the armed forces on SPLM-N-held territories, affecting access to education and medical care for over 75,000 children. In one instance, six perso ns were injured and the hospital’s emergency room and pharmacy were destroyed. The United Nations also received credible information regarding the military use of three schools by the armed forces in South Kordofan.
Access to Government and SPLM-N-controlled areas remained very challenging, even though there was a slight improvement compared with 2013. For the first time, the United Nations was granted limited access to Kurmuk and Bau localities in Blue Nile. Access to Abyei through Kadugli continued to be difficult.
Darfur continued to experience intermittent fighting between Government forces and non-signatory armed groups, with a spike from January to May and in December, following the launch of the Government’s “Decisive Summer” military offensive using the rapid support forces. Intertribal and intratribal clashes in which children were involved intensified. In that context, the verification of violations against children remained difficult.
The country task force on monitoring and reporting verified three boys recruited and used by the armed forces and three by unidentified militias, a marked decrease compared with 2013. However, allegations of the recruitment of children continued to be received. In March, eyewitnesses reported the presence of boys between 15 and 17 years of age during a rapid support forces parade in Nyala, South Darfur. Another report mentioned that an estimated 37 children were seen carrying machine guns in El Daein, East Darfur.
Moreover, 197 children (135 boys, 62 girls) were killed (65) and maimed (132), by cross-fire during fighting between government forces and armed groups and in aerial bombardments by the armed forces. In addition, 15 children were killed and 29 injured by explosive remnants of war.
Forty-eight incidents of rape and other forms of sexual violence affecting 60 girls were verified and attributed to the armed forces (15), the rapid support forces (10) and unidentified armed men (35). In most cases, girls were raped during attacks on their villages or when performing daily activities. Verifying cases of sexual violence remains a challenge due to fear of reprisals, mistrust in law enforcement and judicial authorities, and social stigma. In addition, the requirement by law to prove rape as a crime before the provision of medical care deters survivors and families from seeking help. When they do so, criminal law provisions may be interpreted in such a way that the survivor is accused of adultery. In cases where perpetrators are identified, families of victims often settle cases outside judicial proceedings.
Furthermore, the United Nations received allegations of the rape of 200 women, including children, by the armed forces in Thabit, North Darfur, in October. On 9 November, UNAMID conducted a mission to investigate the allegations, which could not be verified, as security personnel were present during UNAMID interactions with the community. UNAMID has since continued to face restrictions in its effort to access Thabit.
Ten schools were severely damaged, destroyed or looted during fighting between Government security forces and armed groups and in aerial bombardments by the armed forces. Eight incidents of attacks, looting and destruction of hospitals were reported. One school used militarily by the armed forces in South Darfur was also verified.
Eight incidents of abduction of 13 children (10 boys, 3) were reported and attributed to the rapid support forces (4), border guards (3), armed forces (1) and unidentified militias (5). Children were used in support functions or labour and sometimes were sexually abused.
Denial of humanitarian access and the imposition of restrictions on movements continued to impede efforts to reach affected communities, including children.
On 6 August, the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi established an operational mechanism to end recruitment and use of children, following a command order issued in December 2013. UNAMID engaged in dialogue with tribal leaders and communities, which resulted in the adoption of a community-based strategic plan to end use of children in intercommunal violence in October. It followed the issuance of a command order by the leader of the Mahameed clan of the Northern Rezeigat. On 26 November, UNAMID, UNICEF and the Sudan commission on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration launched the Darfurwide campaign entitled “No Child Soldiers — Protect Darfur” in Masseriah, North Darfur. Training and awareness-raising activities on child protection were also conducted with civil society, religious and tribal leaders, state -level government personnel and the armed forces.
Limited progress was observed in holding the perpetrators of violations against children accountable. Twelve cases of arrest were documented by the country task force on monitoring and reporting, of which 4 resulted in prosecution and 1 in a sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for rape.
I urge the Government of the Sudan to finalize and sign the action plan to address recruitment and use of children by its security forces.
Parties in Sudan
1. Government forces, including the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and the Sudan Police Forcesa
2. Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)a
3. Pro-Government militiasa
4. Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahida
5. Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawia
6. Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N)a
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.