EL FASHER - The importance of child rights and child protection in armed conflict was the focus of UNAMID training for members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) held on 01 August 2017, in El Fasher, North Darfur.
The one-day training, delivered by the Mission’s Child Protection Unit (CPU), involved 125 SAF members. The training is part of a Darfur-wide campaign to enhance the knowledge of armed forces and armed groups about standards and principles of child protection in armed conflict. The campaign titled: “Train Parties to the Conflict on the Protection of Children - Promote Local Ownership of the Protection of the Child”.
Boubacar Dieng, Head of UNAMID’s CPU, said that efforts have been made in Darfur since 2009 to end recruitment and use of children in armed forces and armed groups and other violations against children.
“The key to sustainable peace in Darfur is through building the capacities of armed forces and armed groups on the basic principles that protect children,” said Mr. Dieng, who noted that children are the most populous age group in the region and represent the future of Sudan.
Mr. Dieng underlined the importance of building trust between SAF and communities, particularly internally displaced persons, in order to achieve lasting peace in Darfur.
Colonel Khalid Abdulaziz, who heads the unit from which participants were drawn, said that the training was very important for SAF members and of practical use while they carry out their duties.
One of the participants, Sergeant Sidg Mohammed, said the training was beneficial and that “participants in this session will inform other colleagues on how to treat children during armed conflict.”
UNAMID has engaged repeatedly with parties to the conflict in Darfur, resulting in the establishment of six Action Plans and the issuance of 11 Command Orders to end recruitment or use of children as soldiers, and to stop other grave violations including abduction of children, killing and maiming of children, and sexual violence against children and attacks on Schools and Hospitals.
The Mission has also supported a Darfur-wide campaign ‘Protect Children/Support Efforts of UNAMID – No sexual relations with minors.’ The campaign – part of global United Nations efforts to protect children – aimed to raise awareness among the Mission’s peacekeepers regarding child sexual abuse and exploitation, and establish a zero tolerance policy.