One of the largest armed movements in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), has recently affirmed its commitment prohibiting the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
The official Command Order, issued by JEM this week, comes following consultation held in July in Stadtschlaining, Austria, between the Movement and UNAMID’s leadership. The talks, hosted by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), resulted – inter alia – in JEM agreeing to establish an operational mechanism to identify children, who are associated with its forces, for demobilization and reintegration.
The Order instructs all members of JEM to “fully adhere to the international and local laws governing the protection of children in armed conflict” and calls upon its field commanders to extensively disseminate the document. The recruitment and use of children is considered a serious crime under International Law and the Sudan Child Act of 2010.
“Child soldiering is detrimental to peace and to children who are the future of Darfur. The Mission applauds JEM’s commitment toward protecting children and appeals to all members of armed groups and forces to do the same,” said UNAMID Acting Joint Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou.
JEM is among seven armed movements in Darfur, including the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid, to have taken such significant steps. In July, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), a signatory along with the Government of Sudan of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, issued a similar order.
Between 2009 and 2012, the Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission, with the support of the UN registered more than 1,000 former soldiers in Darfur.
Source: Justice and Equality Movement