Hope For Children In Darfur

Hope for Children in DarfurNew York, 21 July 2010 – Today’s agreement between Darfur’s Justiceand Equality Movement (JEM) and the United Nations is a welcomecommitment for the protection of children in Darfur.The action-oriented, detailed agreement signed today promises therelease of all boys and girls associated with JEM, allows for UN andUNICEF access to all “persons, places and documents” of JEM, ensuresaccountability for perpetrators, provides support from JEM for childvictims and designates a JEM official to the United Nations to overseethe agreement’s implementation.The scope of this memorandum includes the end of the recruitment anduse of child soldiers, rape and sexual violence as well as the killingand maiming of children.According to International and Sudanese law, anyone under the age ofeighteen is considered a child, regardless of local customs. TheUnited Nations estimates that there are thousands of child soldiers inDarfur alone.”I welcome this agreement as a major step towards an over-archingAction Plan. All parties to conflict in Sudan should sign onto fullAction Plans like those signed by the SLA Minnawi and SLA Free Will. Ihope for the resumption of the broader peace process and implore allparties to remember the children and include child protectionprovisions in all stages starting with the ceasefire agreement andultimately, the peace accord,” said the Special Representative of theSecretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict RadhikaCoomaraswamy. “For these commitments to have a real impact forchildren, they must be honored, enhanced and fully implemented.”# # #For further information, please contact:Timothy La Rose, Communications Officer, Officeof theSpecialRepresentativeofthe Secretary-General for Children and ArmedConflict+1 917-346-3404 – larose@un.orgMuriel Gschwend, Communications Officer, Office of the SpecialRepresentative ofthe Secretary-General for Children and ArmedConflict+1 917-367-3562 – gschwend@un.org